Monthly Archives: May 2013

U.S. Embassy Link Information Updated for POL and Change of Address

I received the following information from the ACS unit in the U.S. Embassy in Panama City.

Wardens – below are the two links that we have updated to try to make the situation with having a foreign address in the Social Security system if you are living outside the US and the Proof of Life requirement for all persons receiving benefits when living outside the US a little more clear.

People living inside the US do not have the same Proof of Life requirement as those living outside the country, just to be clear.

These are official regulations, and must be followed to avoid interruption of benefits.   If US citizens living here are getting other information from the US that they wish to act on instead, they are, of course, free to do so.  If they can share the contacts that are providing this information to them, we would appreciate it.

The following are updated links relative to Social Security Changes of Address and Proof of Life requirements provided for your information.

http://panama.usembassy.gov/ssae.html – Change of address

http://panama.usembassy.gov/ssai.html  – Proof of life

The recipe said “Set the oven to 180 degrees,” so I did, but now I can’t open it because the door faces the wall.

A Small Amount of Time At the David Fair

I bet you thought I would never get around to posting the time I spent at the David Fair last March 15th, 2013.

I really wasn’t certain if I would make it to the fair this year or not. I almost cooked last year and I told myself I would never go to the fair before 5pm the next time if I went.

While I was still wondering what I would do this year, I received an Invitation to attend an inaugural event for Petroautos. It was going to be at 7pm and have food catered by Cuatro. Sounded like a plan to me.

We arrived around 6:15 and entered the fair. Since the event wasn’t scheduled until 7PM, I had time to spend walking around and taking photos.

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I was passing the Toyota exhibit and it looked like they were going to uncover a car, I assumed it was a new model. Maybe I would have time to drop by later. I did have time to take a couple photos of some lovely Toyota ladies. Continue reading A Small Amount of Time At the David Fair

I’ve owned 3 Golden Retriever’s and not once has one of them brought me any gold.

Proof of Life Followup

I had many emails and questions that some people chose to not enter on the POL blog post. I am going to cover some of them here.

One question I received was if the Railroad Retirement and Veterans’s Administration Agency also had Proof of Life qualifications.

Here was the answer I received for that;

“Each agency has they own proof of life system, but none of the agencies ever have the amount of people suspended or problems for non receipt of a survey or proof of life as the SSA.   Besides the fact that the SSA does not only suspend because of the proof of life, they also suspend because of address issues (living overseas and using a US address).”

I also received more clarifying information as to why the POL would be different for those of us that retire here as opposed to those that live in the US.

One of the big differences between here in Panama and the US is that in the US deaths almost always are reported through the government by law, and so the process is generally self-policing as far as proof-of-life.  Here, that is not the case, and I am sure that there any number of US Citizens/Panamanian Residents here that die and are not reported to the US Embassy, no official death certificates are issued and people keep collecting benefits until they get caught and have to pay it back.  The US Embassy in Panama City always notifies the Vital Records sections of the states where people were born of the death certificate and send a scan to them.

Again, let me make this perfectly clear. I am not trying to tell anyone what to do. I am only providing information to anyone that is a US citizen and a permanent resident in Panama. There are guidelines issued by the US Government requiring notification when a US citizen lives outside the US for more than 3 months a year. I published them in the Proof of Life post.

I know many want to “fly under the radar”. Every year there is more communications between the Panamanian government and the US Government. It is not unreasonable to believe that information is shared about new pensionados from the US to Panama.

If you happen to get a retirement income from a US agency, it makes sense to comply with the regulations. Now if the SSA check is not a big deal to you and you can wait a couple months without having it, why worry? I can’t do that, so I will believe what I read and have been told.

I personally like Susan’s approach about just sending your information into the SSA every year and not waiting or depending on getting a letter. You have now taken control of the situation and removed control from a faulty mail system and other unknown problems that may arise.

If age is just an attitude, I could use an attitude adjustment.

COMPUTER: Please wait while a wizard installs this program.

Me: There’s a wizard in my computer??? Sweet

That whole ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ thing doesn’t work so well with cats.

More Notes From Embassy Warden Meetings in Panama City

The last post was on the Proof of Life notification that is required of all individuals living outside the U.S., who receive Social Security Benefits.

The website for other items covered by the FBU is http://panama.usembassy.gov/federal_benefits_unit.html I recommend that you makes yourself familiar with it if you are a U.S. Citizen living in Panama.

The FBU handles more than just Social Security payments. Email addresses and telephone numbers for the FBU are on their website.

The website for the U.S. Embassy on Panama City is http://panama.usembassy.gov

The ACS (American Citizen Services) is a major unit of the U.S. Embassy in Panama and the one that hosted the Warden’s meetings last week. Its website is http://panama.usembassy.gov/american_citizen_services_unit.html

Today, I will focus on the presentation given by ACS. They estimate that less than 10% of the U.S. Citizens register with the Embassy. This is really a shame in my opinion. They also estimated that there were around 42,000 U.S. citizens living in Panama. 1/2 in Panama City and the other 1/2 outside Panama City. You can register at the following site. https://step.state.gov/step/

The U.S. Embassy had an office in David in the past. If they had a better head count of citizens living in Chiriquí there might be justification of having an office in Chiriquí again.

My notes of the presentation by the ACS follows. Please note that these notes were as of May 8, 2013. Continue reading More Notes From Embassy Warden Meetings in Panama City

Sometimes I wrap myself in bows and call myself gifted…