Federal Benefits and Taxes
Travel Alert for Thailand - February 14, 2014
Federal Benefits for Americans Living in Thailand
The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok is a non-claim post, however, our office can assist with a limited number of services related to Social Security Administration (SSA), Veterans Affairs (VA) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Please see below for information regarding services we can and cannot assist with.
Social Security Adminstration
The Social Security Administration’s Regional Federal Benefits Office in Manila is the point of contact for cases reported from Thailand. Their contact information is:
Social Security Administration
US Embassy Manila
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Ermita, Manila 0930
Fax: 632-708-9723 or 632-708-9714
Filing for Social Security Benefits. If you would like to file a claim for Social Security Benefits while you are overseas, you must submit an application in person at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Currently, the online application is only for those residing within the United States.
Generally, you can apply for Social Security Benefits up to three months prior to the qualifying age. You may obtain an application form from our office in person or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that our office can only file the initial inquiry to SSA Manila on your behalf. After submittance, a case worker from SSA Manila will contact you via phone for additional information. The whole process may take up to three to six months, depending on the complexity of your application.
Updating Your Address with SSA. If you are residing outside of the United States for more than 6 months, you should update your address with the Social Security Administration. Your benefits will be suspended if your address is not updated. If you are updating your U.S. address to an address in Thailand, you will need to fill out Form SSA-21 and submit it to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are updating an address within Thailand, please contact SSA Manila directly.
Reporting to SSA. Each year SSA sends a form called “Report to Social Security” to a number of randomly selected beneficiaries. If you have received this form, please complete and return it with the envelope provided to the SSA Office in the United States. If your benefits have been suspended due to failing to submit this form, only then will you be able to obtain and submit the form through our office.
Applying for a Social Security Number. Normally, only U.S. Citizens and noncitizens authorized to work in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security can obtain a Social Security Number. To apply for a Social Security Number, complete Form SS-5-FS and submit it to a U.S. Embassy. In order to process your application, we will need to see original documents proving:
- U.S. citizenship and identity such as a passport;
- current age, such as a birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad;
- Parents’ Identification (for minors).
Please note that SSA may contact you for additional documents after your application has been filed. More information is available on the SSA webpage.
If you would like to apply for a SSN number for IRS tax purposes, you may be eligible to apply for an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Please visit our Taxes website for more information.
Department of Veterans Affairs
The U.S. Embassy can assist veterans in three ways: 1) you did not receive a benefit that you were entitled to; 2) update a mailing address; 3) assist with finding physicians for the Request for Physical Examination, Form VA 21-2507. If you need assistance with any of these three issues, please send an inquiry to our office via email at email@example.com. For faster service or more information regarding other services, please contact Department of Veteran Affairs directly via Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) Website. The Pittsburgh VA Regional Office (VARO) is the servicing VARO for Thailand when you use a Thai street address or APO Box with the VA.
Joint United States Military Advisory Group Thailand, also known as JUSMAGTHAI, is the U.S. Security Assistance Organization (SAO) in Thailand. Their Retired Activities Office can also provide basic information concerning Veteran Affairs.
7 Sathorn Tai Road, Tungmahamek
Sathorn, Bangkok 10120
VA Medical Coverage. Please be advised, there is no VA Medical Facility or Military Treatment Facility in Thailand. Furthermore, payment upfront (out-of-pocket) is almost always required for medical treatment. Please take a look at the following website for more information: Medical Resources for U.S. Veterans Living in Foreign Countries.
In most places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to obtain overseas medical coverage for your trip. For more information, please see our webpage on medical insurance overseas.
VA Foreign Medical Program (FMP). FMP is a program established by the VA to provide health care benefits to U.S. veterans with VA-rated service-connected conditions who are residing or traveling abroad (Philippines excluded).
VA may authorize foreign medical services for Veterans only for a VA rated service-connected condition or for a condition that is associated with and aggravated by a VA rated service-connected condition, or when you undergo a VA Compensation & Pension (C&P) Examination. The FMP office does not issue pre-certification for foreign medical services.
If you are in need of medically necessary treatment for the care of your VA rated service-connected condition, or undergo a VA C&P Examination, then you normally pay upfront (out-of-pocket), and may submit the bills with a copy of the medical documentation to the FMP office for payment consideration. The VA assumes payment responsibility for certain necessary medical services associated with the treatment of those service-connected conditions. Generally, as long as the service you require is medically necessary for the treatment of a VA rated service-connected condition, it will be covered. There are however, some general exclusions. Also, the services you use must be accepted and approved by the VA and/or the U.S. medical community such as the American Medical Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Take a few moments to learn more by visiting Foreign Medical Program.
Disability Claims Process for Veterans Living Abroad Explained. Read the claims process.
VA Compensation & Pension (C&P) Examinations. The Veteran pays for a C&P exam upfront (out-of-pocket) then submits a claim to the VA Foreign Medical Program for payment consideration. Also, in most cases, unless the Veteran brings their pertinent service treatment records (C-file) to the C&P exam, it would be extremely difficult for an examining physician to render a medical opinion as to service-connection. Please see this website for more information: Veterans' Medical and Health Records.
Veterans’ Military Service Record Request. Military personnel records can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research. Most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records, please take a look at this website: Veterans’ Service Records (National Archives).
Other VA General Assistance. If you’re a U.S. military retiree or active duty U.S. military about to retire, or an eligible family member of the above, the Retiree Activities Office (RAO), JUSMAG-THAI (Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group, Thailand), can also help with general VA questions. Moreover, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the United States serves all classifications of U.S. military veterans and their eligible family members. For more information, please take a look at their website.
VA via Direct Deposit. The Department of Veterans Affairs will be phasing out all paper checks by 2013, and plans to provide electronic deposits for federal benefits. You are encouraged to open a direct deposit account to facilitate efficient and secure delivery of your federal benefit(s).
For direct deposit into your U.S. bank account, please provide your account number and the routing number of your financial institution to the US Embassy, Bangkok.
In Thailand, only Bangkok Bank is able to accept direct deposits. You may contact the Bangkok Bank Main Office at 02-230-1323 or your local branch for more information on how to open a direct deposit account.
If you do not have a bank account, you may receive VA and other federal benefits through the Direct Express Card. More information about the Direct Express Card.
Medicare coverage only applies to American Citizens who reside within the United States. If you would like to either enroll or terminate Medicare, please send an inquiry to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of Personnel Management
The U.S. Embassy can assist beneficiaries in three ways:
- you did not receive a benefit you were entitled to;
- updating an address; and
- Report of Deaths of Non-Citizens.
Please send an inquiry to us via email at email@example.com.
Appointments are required for all services.
Make an Appointment