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Want To Start Collecting USA Social Security

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1 hour ago, shortstop said:


I went to Bangkok Bank today and they wanted my Social Security card.  Can't remember the last time I was asked to show my SS card and guess I lost it long ago and never saw the need to replace it.  Suppose I can try another branch.

If you happen to have any other U.S. govt or bank doc that has your SSN on it that might satisfy the bank as substitute for the SS card.

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On 2/27/2021 at 3:52 PM, Pib said:


Are you a naturalized U.S. citizen or U.S. citizen by birth?   


A naturalized citizen usually has to provided their original or certified copy of their U.S. Passport or Naturalization Certificate based on two naturalized U.S. citizens I hand walked thru SS pension application process with Manila.    But a U.S. citizen by birth does not have to provide any ID like a passport unless maybe the SS office wants to make sure you are who you say you are.   When I applied thru Manila a few years ago for my SS pension no ID was required...I'm a U.S. citizen by birth.

I'm a citizen by birth and all I can tell you is what was required of me last July to start my benefits flowing.

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On 2/28/2021 at 1:11 PM, Pib said:

Recommend if using the ACH payment method is to open a new direct deposit acct....leave your other regular acct alone.


When I open my new account it would be best if no Thailand tax is withheld due to interest earnings even though the interest earned in this account will be quite small.    To assist the bank rep in setting this up perchance do you know the internal Bangkok Bank coding that is used so no tax is withheld if one provides them their Thai Tax ID card number?

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19 minutes ago, shortstop said:


When I open my new account it would be best if no Thailand tax is withheld due to interest earnings even though the interest earned in this account will be quite small.    To assist the bank rep in setting this up perchance do you know the internal Bangkok Bank coding that is used so no tax is withheld if one provides them their Thai Tax ID card number?

Don't know what code they enter to denote no tax withholding.   Just provide them your tax ID card or receipt from a past tax filing (the receipt will have your tax ID number) and let them do their paperwork/system coding.   When I provided Bangkok Bank and Krungsri Bank my tax ID number they preferred the tax receipt showing the tax number since that was an official looking Thai govt doc.  But if you've never filed a Thai tax return you wouldn't have any such receipt; you would just have a card.   My name and  tax ID number was really just a handwritten on business card sized "slip of paper" the tax office gave me....really lo-so, elementary school looking card....guess the tax office was out of real cards.   

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On 2/28/2021 at 1:11 PM, Pib said:

If you plan to use the ACH system which means you will be using the Bangkok Bank NY branch ACH routing number then you would complete a SF-1199a.....just the standard old form use for U.S. govt direct deposits via the ACH system.


Bangkok Bank "kinda pushes" this method since it means the monthly payments can only come to them as Bangkok Bank is the only Thai bank with ACH receiving capability and also allows the Bangkok Bank NY branch to earn a pass-thru fee. 


Went to Bangkok Bank today and the bank rep was pushing the IDD method as it was much less work for her.      This might be because I don't have a social security card.


I had brought all kinds of official looking stuff with my SS# and was relieved that today the bank rep was backing off the card request.   She was on the phone for quite awhile with the home office and perhaps they suggested that with the IDD method they didn't need my Social Security card.   First she said I could keep my old account which was OK with me if that's want it took for them to back off the card.  But then when she filled out the form it had a swift code number and the form was the IDD form.   No sense getting less money every month by doing the IDD method but even if I was going to use the IDD method, I'd do it with Krungsri where I do most of my banking.


The bank rep was confused and the assistant manager said she would set up an appointment with the manager on another day as he was out of the office today.  So we will see if they relent about the card.  If not,  I'll try another branch although I realize that I have to appear at the branch when I want my money.   


If every branch wants to see a card, it might take me awhile to get one.   If so, is it possible to collect a few months retroactively?  For tax reasons I want half of my Social Security plus the standard deduction to be less than 25K for as long as possible.    


Edited by shortstop
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Sounds like the bank rep you dealt with just unexperienced in the bank's special Direct Deposit acct and the punted by saying you'll need to talk to the manager.  Unless your branch happens to have a lot of American customers where setting up of direct deposit accts for SSA/VA/Military/Civilian Service retirement would have been common, the bank rep may have had little to no experience with direct deposit accts....therefore, punt the issue to the manager...and maybe even say the manager is not here today....please come back later.


And whenever they say the manager is out for the day that's usually not a good sign....just another excuse they give in hopes you will not come back to talk more about the issue.   But hey, maybe the manager was gone for the day and the only one with direct deposit accts for US govt payments....could be.


Opening up an "ACH" direct deposit acct for reoccurring US govt direct deposit accts usually means opening an new acct, special coding for that acct, proof of SSN, etc....just more work and required experience in comparison to a regular acct.   And I know from experience it take "more" bank paper work to convert a regulars savings acct to a direct deposit acct or vice versa.....they effectively end up doing almost double the paperwork.   The actual changes within their computer/IT system is minimal BUT they must have all the paper work to document the changes....Thai banks are still the Land of "Paperwork" for many banking issues.


Additionally, the U.S. ACH rules  are more strict than international SWIFT rules when it comes to the recall/recovery of money.  So, when a bank joins the ACH network (which the Bangkok Bank NY branch is part of which means they are also bound by US laws and have a US banking license) it's much easier to recall/recover money up to 30 days after the funds were sent...like being sent in error or due to a fraudulent transaction.  So, with these strict rules Bangkok Bank wants to ensure all the I's are dotted and T's crossed for "their" protection under ACH rules/laws when opening an ACH direct deposit acct.   But with SWIFT it's not nearly as strict since no one country sets the laws/rules related to recall/recovery of money....recalling/recovering money sent in error/fraudulently has little change of biting the receiving bank....it's the sending bank that get bit.   


As already discussed with IDD the payment is not flowing thru the ACH system but the SWIFT system so a Thai bank does not have to have ACH receiving capability which only Bangkok Bank has....any Thai bank can receive a IDD payment via the SWIFT system into a regular acct.  


You mentioned your don't want more that 25K to arrive per payment which equates to around $833 using a 30 baht/USD exchange rate.  My year long comparison analysis (spread sheeting) of exchange rates and fee between the ACH and IDD show at approx $1125 and above you will get more baht in your Thai bank acct using the ACH system after all the exchange rate and fee dust settles....but below $1125 IDD puts more baht into your acct.    If your SS pension is less than $1125 after any deductions like federal tax withholding you would be better off going with IDD in terms of most baht hitting your acct after the exchange rate and fee dust settles.....and as mentioned, you can use any Thai bank acct (even a Bangkok Bank regular acct) for an IDD payment.   It's only with payment via ACH that you must go with a Bangkok Bank direct deposit acct.


Assuming your SS pension application does not encounter any delays based on the "Benefits Begin" date you enter in your application, then your first payment will be just a monthly payment.  If SSA encounters delays in approving your application then your first payment could be multiple months based on the Benefits Begin date.  If in your application you said you want your benefits to begin May but the SSA does finalize approval of your application until say 15 Aug, then your first payment would be for 3 months (May, June, and July)  and then in early Sep you would get your payment for the August benefit month.


Also keep in mind when signing up for SS pension no federal tax will be withheld unless you provide a W-4V Voluntary Federal Tax Withholding form where you can select 7, 10, 12, or 22% U.S. federal tax withholding which means less money hitting your Thai  bank acct due to the withholding.  Assuming you must file a U.S. federal tax return each year and have other income then you may have a higher tax bill due to your SS pension....and having tax withheld per monthly payment might mean less of a tax return bill due to Uncle Sam if you end up owning Uncle some money.



One final bit of info, needing to complete a SF-1199A (i.e., payment via ACH system) is only required if the SSA asks for one.  If doing the online SS application they only ask for your bank's ACH routing number and acct number...no need to provide a SF-1199A unless for some reason SSA contacts you after you submit the pension application and require the SF-1199A.  If they ask that means they probably want additional confirmation the bank acct info is correct and is really your bank acct....they just want to ensure the info is correct, no fraudulent transaction is being attempted, etc.    And "No" that does not mean you'll can just enter the Bangkok Bank NY routing number and your acct number on the SS application and your SS payment will flow to Bangkok Bank no problem.  Well, it will flow from the SSA no problem but when it arrives Bangkok Bank the bank will see it's not going into a Direct Deposit acct and place the posting of the payment to your acct and send you notification you have around 2 weeks to come to the bank to open a direct deposit acct so they can post the money there...and if you don't come to do such they then reject the funds back to the SSA.

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The Bangkok Bank rep did not get back to me as promised so there could be a delay opening my direct deposit account.    I can try various branches but would prefer the one that I already have an account with or if that doesn't work then one of the other more convenient branches since I have to show up at the branch whenever I want to withdraw money..


So my question is can I start the ball rolling and apply online even though I don't have my direct deposit account yet?


The online enrolment process doesn't show the whole process rather you have to fill in the first part before getting to the second part and so on and so on.  I am wondering if the online enrollment is set up the same as the PDF that one would mail in?


On the PDF there is a remarks section where I could state that the direct deposit info will be provided in a few weeks.


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If you don't select either Direct Deposit or Direct Express (debit card), one of those two electronic payment means, you will probably delay final approval of your application as federal benefits must be paid via an electronic means (i.e., Direct Deposit or Direct Express debit card acct).   To be paid by check you must obtain a waiver which is pretty hard to get.



I don't recommend the Direct Express debit card method unless you are unbanked because the Direct Express withdrawal fees are high for an overseas withdrawal....a 3% of amount withdrawn plus 3%...and no reimbursement of the Thai ATM Bt220 fee on foreign cards.  





When applying online for SS retirement--which I would definitely do versus mailing in a paper application (if you can even do that now)--you can complete all the sections without submitting it.   It's kinda like efiling a federal return...you can complete everything, do all the error checks, save it and come back to it later, but until you hit that final submit button the return doesn't get submitted.  Heck, I "started" my SSA online application around year before I finally applied just to see what info was asked....but ultimately I didn't apply online...I ended up just applying via email/telephone call with the Manila SS FBU.     


I don't know if you would able to submit an online application without any direct deposit info OR if not already having a Direct Express acct if Social Security would automatically sign you up for a Direct Express acct. 


Some of the weblinks I gave above talk the Direct Express sign-up process but it seems its done by you signing up directly with Direct Express or the SSA rep would help while you are at the SSA office---but you will not physically be at an office.  If you could submit an online application without method of electronic payment selected you might just get a letter from the SSA saying they need your bank acct info for a direct deposit or they need you to open a Direct Express acct before they can finalize approval of your application/begin payment.


You might be better off applying directly with Manila and initially providing them a IDD sign-up form for your current Bangkok Bank regular savings acct (or any Thai bank acct other than a foreign currency deposit acct).  Then later on if you want to have it sent via ACH because it puts more baht into your acct after all exchange rate and fee dust settles provide SSA an ACH signup form for a Bangkok Bank direct deposit acct "assuming you can get one open in the near term."  


Edit:  Forgot you are having the SSN validation issue...that is Bangkok Bank wanting to see you SSN card before they complete any direct deposit form (ACH or IDD form).    When IDD became available for Thailand around two years ago there were folks who simply couldn't get their Thai bank to complete their section of the sign up form.  So, the individuals completed the form "without" the bank rep's signature block completed and attached a memo that their Thai bank would not sign any forms "not generated internally by the bank."  SSA was OK with that and processed the IDD forms.  The only reason SSA would like the bank official to sign off is to help ensure accuracy of the info because some people are challenged to enter the correct info like their bank acct number, the SWIFT/ACH code, etc.  



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