In Case You Are Interested

Yesterday’s update by the U.S. Embassy caused me to want to do some more Google Investigation.

I am going to pass on some of the things I learned from my research. “You’ve just hit a “pay wall.”

Now, in no way is this a suggestion that you use this information, and please understand that I am doing this on my own and it is not sanctioned by the U.S. Embassy in Panama City.

With that caveat, when you review the POL url that the Embassy provided, you will notice that all forms referenced on their page were by number and no web addresses for the forms were provided. They did provide the web address for all contact information for the FBU.

Of course, I decided to see what I would find if I slipped SSA-7162 into Google and up popped the form. I assume that will be what the Embassy will send me if I don’t receive the form by mail by October.

If you read the form, I think you will find that it easy to fill out.

Continuing my search on the Internet I found the following:

This is the FEP (Foreign Enforcement Program) and provides some explanation for its existence.You will also notice that the forms used are the ones referenced by the Embassy’s site.

Still I don’t like the fact that I am going to wind up needing to get a form and printing it and filling it out by hand. I like PDF forms I can fill out on the PC. My writing is not the best.

There are utilities that can be downloaded to enable you to fill in PDF files. I removed the previous part of this post with a PDF filler site because it required a fee. I am still researching a good PDF filler tool . If you use one, let me know. I think GIMP may work.

For now, I will just print the form, fill it out and then sign it.  The difference for me and some other U.S. citizens in Panama, is that I am in contact with ACS personal on a weekly basis and they know me.

I am going to mail it to the FBU in Panama City. I may follow up the mailing to PC with a phone call in a week or so to verify that it has been received.

If you are not known by the FBU, then contacting them, as they request, is in order.

Let me restate, this is not a recommended procedure that has been accepted or suggested by the Embassy in PC. However, I don’t see why it won’t work.

Let me also say, what I have described assumes that you are on record previously with the SSA as having an in-country address. If you have a noncompliant address or have recently moved to Panama, you need to reference the change of address Embassy URL.

For change of address, if you live in Panama City, they want to see you. If you live in the boonies, like David or Boquete, they ask you to contact them for special instructions. I have no idea what those instructions might be.

In closing, I am not going to connect this post to any of the previous POL posts, like I normally would. I am also not going to post it on any of the Yahoo groups or Boquete Ning either.

One final comment. It is up to you to decide how you are going to handle this situation. Feel free to use any suggestions made by others. Feel free to fax forms to the International Office if you desire.

I will just remind you that if something gets screwed up, like the person at the International Office was pissed off that day and did not record the form you sent them, it will be the Panama City FBU that will have to come to your rescue.

It might make sense to make an effort to get to know some of your Embassy personnel ahead of time.

13 thoughts on “In Case You Are Interested

  1. Don it’s common knowledge that you provide a valuable public service as a volunteer and for that I thank you. I understand the concept very well and how much personal time a program like this can consume, to be honest I think you should be compensated.

    What I don’t understand is while you are actively conveying Embassy information of great interest and assisting US Citizens much of the time I never hear or see any of the other Wardens doing the same.

    For example the Warden in Boquete or Potrerillos never disseminates any of the ACS public messages nor do they appear to posses anything near the level of vestment in the program as you do. Could you enlighten the viewers why the other Wardens seem to be AWAL and how we can encourage them to become more motivated.

    As always we appreciate your efforts and will be sure to provide our friends at the Embassy some positive feedback regarding you unwavering efforts.

  2. I am sure most Wardens use an email based system. I don’t. The original Warden systems use telephone trees, then emails.

    I should also add that you will get the messages that the Wardens distribute if you register with STEPS.

  3. Don, I clicked on your change of address URL and got the embassy page ok. But then when I clicked on the ssa online link I got an error message that the online link did not exist.

  4. You are correct Lee. I will have to rewrite that part of the post. That is what I get for writing late at night. Thanks for straightening me out.

  5. Hi Don: I search high and low for a PDF program what would let me enter info into the PDF forms specified. As i suffer from AMD-wet vision disorder it would be a lot easier for people with vision problems to enter the info needed.

    I assume that form SSA-21 is the Address Change Form and needs to be submitted if different from what address SSA has on file. This has to be a Panamanian postal address.

    I assume that form SSA-7182-OCR-SM is the Proof Of Life (POL) form and needs to be submitted every two years depending on your Social Security Number.
    I also assume that the Proof Of Life Form for Dependents receiving SSA benefits needs to be sent in every two years also.

    If my assumptions are incorrect, can someone please enlighten me.

  6. Patrick, The form you listed as 7182 is 7162. I believe the requirement will be for any US citizen living in Panama that is receiving SSA benefits. On the FBU site is their email address. Why not drop them a note and explain your difficulty.

    I have filled out some forms for US Citizens living in Panama that the Embassy asked me to help do to physical problems and I am sure other wardens would be happy to do the same.

    I was able to use GIMP on a test for PDF.

  7. Don: right you are on the form number, bloody AMD. Thank you for your rapid response. I don’t think any PDF edit program could squeeze in the passport no. on form SSA-21, wonder who designed this form?

    As always, Don, YOUR THE MAN!!!

  8. I could not get my printer print form SSA 7162. I had a friend do it for me. I plan to fill it out and take it to Boquete and have the mail lady at Tuesday Morning Meeting mail it to SSA in Wilkes Barre, PA. . I do not trust the Panamanian postal system. If you are considering faxing the International Desk of SSA you might have trouble finding a fax place that does international. Last year I faxed my ballot. I found one at the Chinese owned Office Center Plus. It is on the corner down the street from Multi Cafe #2 downtown. It is on the corner diagonally across from Cable Onda. When you go in walk to the back where they do copies. Turn to your right and go back and find a cubby hole office behind glass windows. It cost me $3 to fax the ballot.

  9. I forgot to add. For those changing their USA address to a Panamanian one, SSA pays on the 3rd of the month to those living overseas. If the 3rd falls on a week end they pay on the Friday before.

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