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Topic: Applying for SS - actual experience  (Read 2368 times)

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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2021, 01:07:09 PM »

BTW, if anyone reading this thread is in the same position as me (looking at filling in missing years), be aware the HRMC web page that shows you the gaps you can fill in (https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/check-your-state-pension/account/nirecord/gaps) only shows the price of making voluntary Class 3 contributions (~£800 / year). If you been working abroad, you are likely eligible to pay Class 2 (even if not self-employed) instead. Class 2 is much cheaper (~£160 to fill in a year) and entitles you to more benefits.


So i may have paid the wrong class of voluntary contributions based on this.  Not sure whether to be happy or sad, may be due a refund, but may be condemned to hours on hold to ask about it.

Our experience, even during Covid times this year and last, has been pretty good in getting to speak to someone on the phone.  I would say 10 to 20 minutes maximum on hold.  I wouldn't hold out much hope on getting a refund on past contributions, but if the phone call costs you nothing it will be worth speaking to someone about it.

I started receiving my OAP last year and my wife this year.  Pre-Covid we both spoke at different times to someone from DWP on voluntary contributions and found them very helpful.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2021, 01:09:33 PM by durhamlad »
Dual USC/UKC living in the UK since May 2016


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2021, 01:52:33 PM »
Christmas surprise from the SS Administration today, my wife's application is approved and the first payment, backdated several months to when she applied, has shown up as a pending payment in our UK bank account.  Very nice to have this completed by Christmas.

Now to complete the form to tell them she started receiving OAP 2 weeks so that WEP will start to be applied.
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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2021, 01:59:36 PM »
I was hoping to start the process on my wife (spousal ss) maybe 2 months ago (62 birthday late May)....they wrote back a week or two ago and basically told us to go away until Feb. and then put the request in again.
Fred


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2021, 02:09:30 PM »
I was hoping to start the process on my wife (spousal ss) maybe 2 months ago (62 birthday late May)....they wrote back a week or two ago and basically told us to go away until Feb. and then put the request in again.

A physical letter in the post or an email?  And is this from the FBU at the US Embassy?

Either way, at least they replied.  From SSA in the USA we have heard absolutely nothing, even after my wife called them October and they promised to flag up her application and get back to her, then suddenly saw the incoming money today so logged onto SSA to confirm that it was all approved.
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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2021, 02:45:00 PM »
A physical letter in the post or an email?  And is this from the FBU at the US Embassy?

Either way, at least they replied.  From SSA in the USA we have heard absolutely nothing, even after my wife called them October and they promised to flag up her application and get back to her, then suddenly saw the incoming money today so logged onto SSA to confirm that it was all approved.
Just an email from the embassy. When I got my SS I just applied through the US. When going through the embassy to start my wife's I think it was just a short little sheet stating you wanted to start the SS application. This is what we got back from them.
--------------------------------------------------------
Thank you for your email.

Please contact our office in February 2022, providing the same information as you have done so now but including your husbands full name, date of birth and last four digits of his social security number and we will arrange to call you to book a telephone interview for you.

We are unable to book appointments 5 months prior to your 62nd birthday.

Thank you.

Claims Representative (SJ)

Federal Benefits Unit

United States Embassy

33 Nine Elms Lane

London

SW11 7US
Fred


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2021, 02:50:30 PM »
@durhamlad

Great to hear that your wife's application has progressed to completion.

I started my process in late August by logging a request through the FBU in London. (66 years and 2 months end of November). Got a telephone appointment for mid October - all very pleasant & FBU followed up with a letter next day requesting usual documentation (Certificate of Naturalization,  passports etc and in my case a copy of the SSA form I had sent to Baltimore asking for a correction to be made for missed earning from 1993).

A few weeks later I & my wife received new Social Security cards (not sure why they replaced them  - old ones from 30 years ago, were still fine) - mailed from Baltimore - since then - have heard nothing concerning the status of the application.

I chose to have my SS payments made in USD to my Wise account - I await with baited breath - they did explain at the time that WEP would apply (which I already knew) but payments when they happen will be back dated to my eligibility date.



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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2021, 03:25:48 PM »
@durhamlad

Great to hear that your wife's application has progressed to completion.

I started my process in late August by logging a request through the FBU in London. (66 years and 2 months end of November). Got a telephone appointment for mid October - all very pleasant & FBU followed up with a letter next day requesting usual documentation (Certificate of Naturalization,  passports etc and in my case a copy of the SSA form I had sent to Baltimore asking for a correction to be made for missed earning from 1993).

A few weeks later I & my wife received new Social Security cards (not sure why they replaced them  - old ones from 30 years ago, were still fine) - mailed from Baltimore - since then - have heard nothing concerning the status of the application.

I chose to have my SS payments made in USD to my Wise account - I await with baited breath - they did explain at the time that WEP would apply (which I already knew) but payments when they happen will be back dated to my eligibility date.

Keep us posted, sounds like it is in progress.

We also got new SS cards sent to us even though we still have our original ones.
Dual USC/UKC living in the UK since May 2016


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2021, 03:29:57 PM »
Just an email from the embassy. When I got my SS I just applied through the US. When going through the embassy to start my wife's I think it was just a short little sheet stating you wanted to start the SS application. This is what we got back from them.
--------------------------------------------------------
Thank you for your email.

Please contact our office in February 2022, providing the same information as you have done so now but including your husbands full name, date of birth and last four digits of his social security number and we will arrange to call you to book a telephone interview for you.

We are unable to book appointments 5 months prior to your 62nd birthday.

Thank you.

Claims Representative (SJ)

Federal Benefits Unit

United States Embassy

33 Nine Elms Lane

London

SW11 7US


Sounds reasonable, when you said May in your post I assumed last May.  Not surprised really that they were not interested in an application so early. The SSA site says no earlier than 4 months before.

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/apply.html

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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2022, 04:00:32 PM »
Well that gives us all hope Durhamlad!  Had our interview with the embassy last month to apply for my SS and my husband’s spousal.  Very nice embassy lady said she thought it would take 4 months to process but I won’t be surprised if it takes longer based on your experience.  Would like it to all get processed before my DHs 70th birthday in September as it seems like it will get super complicated if he applies for his own benefit before they have finish processing his spousal benefit.


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2022, 04:30:49 PM »
Well that gives us all hope Durhamlad!  Had our interview with the embassy last month to apply for my SS and my husband’s spousal.  Very nice embassy lady said she thought it would take 4 months to process but I won’t be surprised if it takes longer based on your experience.  Would like it to all get processed before my DHs 70th birthday in September as it seems like it will get super complicated if he applies for his own benefit before they have finish processing his spousal benefit.

That sounds very promising. In the next couple of weeks you will probably receive a copy of the written application that the US Embassy has sent to the SSA in the USA.
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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2022, 12:00:53 PM »
By way of update on my own process - no update!

FBU Interview was October 13 - full document return completed by 27 October - eligibility date was late November. Nothing further heard to date.

Would be nice to receive some form of automated update as to status, even if there is a delay.

Government systems in the US (both SSN and IRS) are quite frustrating and antiquated - getting any form of automated information seems well nigh on impossible.

I thought I was making progress when I finally manage to engage in secure e-mail correspondence with an IRS agent over a prior year examination (that started in 03/2019 - 3 years of hell with worry and frustration) - that was until his final email, which stated the following (on 13/12/2021)

"Anyway, the good news is that I will be closing the case either today or tomorrow. You should be getting a letter stating the case has been resolved within the next few weeks"

I then immediately sent a follow up email requesting to receive the case results via email - but nothing!. Now have to wait for the good old postie every day hoping to receive the letter - undoubtably sent snail mail.

Argh!!!


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2022, 02:46:44 PM »
By way of update on my own process - no update!

FBU Interview was October 13 - full document return completed by 27 October - eligibility date was late November. Nothing further heard to date.

Would be nice to receive some form of automated update as to status, even if there is a delay.

Government systems in the US (both SSN and IRS) are quite frustrating and antiquated - getting any form of automated information seems well nigh on impossible.

I thought I was making progress when I finally manage to engage in secure e-mail correspondence with an IRS agent over a prior year examination (that started in 03/2019 - 3 years of hell with worry and frustration) - that was until his final email, which stated the following (on 13/12/2021)

"Anyway, the good news is that I will be closing the case either today or tomorrow. You should be getting a letter stating the case has been resolved within the next few weeks"

I then immediately sent a follow up email requesting to receive the case results via email - but nothing!. Now have to wait for the good old postie every day hoping to receive the letter - undoubtably sent snail mail.

Argh!!!

I know how you feel, it is incredibly frustrating. Can you see a change in status when you log onto your SS account online? With my wife it showed in July that the approval process was waiting final  approval which would take 2 to 4 weeks.  No option to contact them except via phone which she did in October. Still no joy  even after the person on the phone said he would flag it and she would get an update within a week or 2. Nada. It was a nice surprise to see money arrive in our bank account in December. The letter confirming the successful application arrived in the post a week or 2 later
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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2022, 04:35:02 PM »

Quote
Can you see a change in status when you log onto your SS account online?

Chance would be a fine thing! - when I left the US in 1996, SSN was not even a consideration (did on-line accounts even exist then?), therefore no US phone or mailing address and no way to set-up an online SS account.!

Here's what SS say you need to open an account:

Terms of Service
You must be able to verify some information about yourself and:
- Have a valid email address;
- Have a Social Security number;
- Have a U.S. mailing address; and
- Be at least 18 years of age.

Looks like USC's outside the U.S. don't exist or matter!


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2022, 04:40:11 PM »
Chance would be a fine thing! - when I left the US in 1996, SSN was not even a consideration (did on-line accounts even exist then?), therefore no US phone or mailing address and no way to set-up an online SS account.!

Here's what SS say you need to open an account:

Terms of Service
You must be able to verify some information about yourself and:
- Have a valid email address;
- Have a Social Security number;
- Have a U.S. mailing address; and
- Be at least 18 years of age.

Looks like USC's outside the U.S. don't exist or matter!

Plenty of others have also reported that it is not possible to open a SS online account once you are out of the country. You are just going to have to sit and wait. Maybe in a month or so contact the FBU in London to ask for a status update.
Dual USC/UKC living in the UK since May 2016


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