How often do you check your mailbox in Panama? Me, I forget, because my only snail mail correspondent is Social Security, and that usually only in December. But if you are a resident in a foreign country and you don’t want your benefits to be cut off, it’s a really good idea to make sure you turn in the Proof of Life form SSA sends out every two years at the beginning of June. (Yours will come in odd numbered years if your SSN ends in -00 to -49; in even numbered years for -50 to -99.) I know some people (Embassy wardens, in fact!) who just send the form in every year to make sure they are covered. I may take up that practice, since I can’t seem to remember to go to the Post Office. Or, better, I could put a note to myself into one of my digital calendars. Or a series, since I am a skilled procrastinator.
Social Security Administration is serious about cutting off your benefits, you know. The point of this activity is to prevent fraud – the dead folk continuing to receive checks type of fraud. I guess that’s why a witness has to sign that you signed. I have good friends who have friends who were cut off. They really do, do it.
In any case, this is a reminder – and if you lost your paperwork or the dog ate it, you can just go here, to this very official site, and download another copy. Send it via email to the Embassy in Panamá (Panama-FBU@state.gov) and then follow-up with the hard copy via postal mail. Last time I checked, sending it certified was fifty cents. Be sure to take a copy of your passport for the folks at the post office to file away. Here is the Embassy mailing address:
Embajada de los Estados Unidos
Apartado 0816-02561 Zona 5
Panamá, República de Panamá