TN 5 (11-15)

GN 03305.040 Requests for Social Security Benefit Status Verifications for Claimants Residing Outside the United States

A. Requirements for these requests

To qualify for permanent residence in the United States or special immigrant status, aliens must submit evidence of their incomes. Often, an individual will request verification of his or her Social Security benefits from the nearest Foreign Service Post (FSP) or from the Office of International Operations (OIO). These requests require the written consent of the individual before we can release the requested information to another government agency. In addition, we consider these requests to be non-program related and charge fees for processing the requests.

An FSP may issue a statement of the monthly benefit amount if it has access to the information. If the FSP does not have access to the information or the foreign government will not accept such a statement, the FSP requests assistance from OIO.

B. Requests received from the Mexican Government

The Mexican Government requires evidence of a set income level before granting an alien special immigrant status as a financially independent immigrant. The Ministry of the Interior (Secretaria de Gobernación) will not accept evidence from U.S. Government sources unless translated into Spanish with the authenticated signature of the issuing Mexican consular official in the U.S. The Mexican Government will also accept, as evidence of Social Security income, letters from the following:

  1. U.S. consular official in Mexico;

  2. Legally Engaged Staff or officer in the Federal Benefits Unit; and

  3. American Citizens Services in the U.S. Embassy.

C. Handling requests received from residents of Mexico

If you receive a request from a resident of Mexico for verification of a Social Security benefit status:

  1. Refer the request to the FSP in Mexico that services the individual’s address;

  2. Include the benefit information for the FSP to use in its letter along with the referral. Advise the individual of the referral; and

  3. Forward the request for benefit information to the FSP under cover of form SSA-1320-U4 (Request for Services). DO NOT CONTROL THE REFERRAL. Retain a copy of the individual’s request in his or her claim file.

The FSP will take the necessary action to secure the individual’s consent to release the information to the Mexican Government if a consent document does not accompany the request.

D. Handling requests received from residents of countries other than Mexico

When the FO receives a request directly from an individual residing in a country other than Mexico, associate the request with the claim file and forward the file to the Translation and Priority Workload Unit (TPWU) in OIO at the following address:

Social Security Administration
Office of International Operations
Attn: Translation and Priority Workload Unit
P.O. Box 17759
Baltimore, MD 21235-7759

The TPWU will prepare and send a letter containing the necessary benefit status information and take the appropriate action to have the official SSA seal affixed to the letter and do one of the following:

  1. If the request includes proper consent for us to disclose the benefit status information, send the letter directly to the appropriate foreign government agency; or

  2. If the claimant has not provided his or her consent, send the letter to the claimant so that he or she can forward it to the appropriate government agency.

E. Request received from or through an FSP

If you receive a request from or through an FSP in a country other than Mexico, send the request to the TWPU in OIO for handling.

1. Written consent NOT included with the request

If you receive a request from an FSP that does not include the claimant’s written consent:

  1. Assume that the FSP will reply and supply it by the quickest means, then follow b. or c.

  2. Advise the FSP that the information can be given directly to the governmental agency involved only if the beneficiary has specifically authorized us to release the information, or

  3. Advise the FSP to give the information to the claimant so that he or she can give it to the appropriate agency if he or she wishes, or when the claimant has not authorized the release of the information and the FSP cannot easily obtain it.