Below are tips on living in the Philippines and collecting US Social Security payments.  It is not really that different from doing it in the States, with one exception, the Dead or Alive Form.

As you may have guessed, it is not really called the “dead or alive form”, but that is what it is.  If they receive the form (“Alive!”), then SSA continues your benefits!  If they do not receive it (“Dead”) and you will be upset some February 3rd (like I am now!).  These tips will help keep your money flowing to you and will help you speed up thing if your benefits do get suspended.

The SSA Game Plan

If all goes well, SSA sends you this form in May each year.  If they do not receive an answer (they say in 60 days) then they send you another one in October.  Likewise, if they do not receive the first or second form, they say they send you another in December. If you do not get any of these back to them post haste, you will notice your check or direct deposit missing February 3rd.  Sadly, this happens a lot!  You do get the money eventually, usually about 5-10 days for direct deposit and 3-6 weeks for a check – AFTER they receive your completed form.

If your SSA Benefits Stop…

Stopped Benefits in the Philippines are usually cause by SSA not receiving your dead or alive form! Notice that everything depends on SSA RECEIVING your completed form.

Many people fire off an email to find out why their checks have stopped.  Do it if you want.  Email SSA Manila at  They will likely email you back in a few days, and say your benefits were stopped because you did not complete and return  Form SSA-7162.

Download the SSA-7162 Form

If you didn’t receive any of the three forms (which is most often the case), you can download a blank form. Use a Newer Version if possible.

Fill Up the Form

It is pretty straight forward except for one crucial thing…

Look at the top right of the form and fine the box that says…

2. Telephone number at which you may be contacted during the day.

Right below that box is an empty boxBe SURE to put your Social Security Number in that empty box. If you do not put your SSN in that box, or if you do not write it clearly so anyone can read it, your form will end up in the trash and WILL NOT BE RECEIVED.

There is NO instruction anywhere that tells you the last sentence above!

Mail the Form SSA-7162

U. S. Postal Service
Social Security Administration
P.O. Box 7162
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-7162

Courier the Form SSA-7162

Private Delivery Service (FedEx (Air-21), UPS, LBC, etc.)
Social Security Administration
Data Operations Center
Attn: SSA-7162 Process
1150 E. Mountain Drive
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-7162

FAX Form SSA-7162

You can FAX the form to the international desk using the following fax numbers:

If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 00 to 16: 410-965-5882
If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 17 to 32: 410-966-6782
If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 33 to 49: 410-965-8054
If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 50 to 66: 410-965-9409
If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 57 to 82: 410-966-5552
If the last 2 digits of your social security number is 83 to 99: 410-966-1042

Preventing Loss of Your SSA Benefits

Maybe you celebrate the American Thanks Giving, or All Saints Day, or Halloween, or your birthday is in November, that is the day to take action!

Download the form, fill it up, take it to the post office, and mail it.  I have had pretty good luck by mailing it AT THE POST OFFICE!

Do not use mail centers, or drop boxes, or the box at the corner sari-sari store.

If your post office has a slot for “USA Only” all the better! Your letter will likely drop into a mail bag and put on a plane for the USA without being sorted!

One Last Advice

Always fill up and return any form you receive from Social Security as soon as possible.