Time is running out – don’t let your Social Security Benefits be interrupted! The U.S. Embassy San José sends along this note to share this official statement with anyone who might be receiving payments here in Costa Rica:

usembassy-sjoThe Social Security Administration (SSA) regularly contacts beneficiaries with addresses overseas to verify their current status. It’s an important anti-fraud tool.

This year, the SSA sent questionnaires to recipients whose social security number ended in 50-99. as well as beneficiaries who have representative payees (person receiving benefits on behalf of a minor or disabled person). These selected beneficiaries received the form with an envelope to the SSA facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

In October, SSA mailed a follow-up notice to those who did not respond to the original questionnaire sent in July. If you received the questionnaire, please return it to the address on the envelope SSA provided – or bring it to the US Embassy for mailing to the U.S.

SSA must suspend the benefits of those who do not return a completed and signed Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire (form SSA-7162 or SSA-7161) by December 30, 2013. If your benefits are interrupted for failure to return the questionnaire, it could take 45-days or longer to resume your payments.  In 2012, 428 people saw their payments suspended.  Of those, about four hundred later contacted SSA to reinstate the payments.  That means this anti-fraud check saved the US taxpayers more than 20,000 dollars a month in Costa Rica alone in 2012.  So far, about 300 people have not returned the form or contacted the SSA office.

Beneficiaries with questions or concerns regarding the questionnaire should contact SJRegion@ssa.gov. When you e-mail, please include your full name, last four digits of the social security number receive benefits on, and two telephone numbers where we can reach you.