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Social Security Administration (SSA)

Applicants residing in Panama must apply for Social Security benefits online at: or at for disability benefits.   Once you complete your online application, you should print the page with the confirmation number and bring it along with the applicable supporting documents to the Federal Benefits Unit.   You will need an appointment to provide the supporting documents.  Please request an appointment by sending an e-mail to  Please note that you can verify the status of your online application with the confirmation number.

For an overview of the information you will be asked on your online application, please visit the following link:

You may view a short demo video on how to apply for benefits online at the following link: 

Please note that all documents should be provided in original.   You should bring the documents that apply to you.  The most commonly required supporting documents are:

  • Birth certificate if you were born in a country other than Panama.  If you were born in Panama, the literal copy (copia integra) of birth certificate
  •  Unexpired Passport or Alien Card and Passport
  • Certificate of Naturalization, if you are not a U.S. Citizen by birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Marriage Certificate
  • If applying for spouse or children benefits, their birth certificate if they were born in a country other than Panama or the literal copy (copia integra) of their birth certificate if they were born in Panama. 
  • Social Security Number for your spouse and dependent child
  • If you are applying for Disability Benefits for yourself, spouse or child, you should bring the medical records and an updated detailed medical report.   This report should include all medications you are taking.  The physician should complete a form SSA-787 which can be obtained at the following link:
  • 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.
  • W-2 or Tax returns if you worked in the year prior to filing for benefits
  • 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:

Residency requirements if you are applying for spouse or widow(er) benefits

Wife/Husband benefits:

Widow(er) Benefits/Surviving Divorced Spouse:

Children Benefits:

Lump Sum death benefits:

Disability benefits:

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: