Social Security Administration (SSA)
You may apply for Social Security benefits online at: https://secure.ssa.gov/iCLM/rib or through the Federal Benefits Unit of the Consular Section where you will be provided with the forms. If you apply online, you should bring the applicable supporting documents to the Federal Benefits Unit. You will need an appointment to provide the supporting documents or to apply at the Federal Benefits Unit. Request an appointment by sending an e-mail to Panama-FBU@state.gov. Please be aware that it could take 6-8 months to receive a final decision from the SSA on a new application.
The most commonly required supporting documents are:
- Original literal copy (copia integra) of birth certificate if you were born in the Republic of Panama. If you were born in another country you should bring your original birth certificate.
- Unexpired Passport or Alien Card and passport
- Certificate of Naturalization, if you are not a U.S. Citizen by birth
- Social Security Card/Number or any Social Security Administration document reflecting your Social Security Number.
- Original Marriage Certificate
- If applying for spouse or children benefits, original literal copy (copia integra) of the birth certificate for your spouse or child under 18 or if disabled if they were born in the Republic of Panama. If they were born in another country you should bring the original birth certificate.
- Social Security Number for your spouse and dependent child, if available
- If you are applying for Disability Benefits for yourself, spouse or child, you should bring your medical records and an updated detailed medical report. This report should include all medications you are taking. The physician should also complete form SSA-787.
- Divorce certificate, if applying as a surviving divorced spouse
- Death Certificate (if applicable)
- If you were in the Armed Forces, Form DD214
- If you receive a pension from a U.S. Federal Agency, your annuity or pension number
- If you receive a pension from a non-U.S. Federal Agency including the Panamanian Social Security System, the award letter or resolution indicating date the pension started and amount of the pension
- Last pay slip
- If not a U.S. Citizen or Resident, proof of at least 5 years residency in the United States
Please may click on the following links for additional information on:
Retirement benefits: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10035.html
Residency requirements if you are applying for spouse or widow(er) benefits: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10137.html#a0=2
Wife/Husband benefits: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10035.html#a0=2
Widow(er) Benefits/Surviving Divorced Spouse: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10084.html#a0=0
Children Benefits: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10085.html
Lump Sum death benefits: http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/202/~/lump-sum-death-payment
Disability benefits: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html
The number of work credits needed for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits. Check the following link for the rules that applies: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/credits3.htm