US Social Security in Cambodia

Keeping, restoring and receiving US Social Security benefits in
Siem Reap, Cambodia can be a challenge. This entry is my
experience. I just today have had mine restored. BooHaa!

First and foremost, nothing happens here in Cambodia without the
endorsement from US SSA hub in Manila, Philippines. I will make
available a list of contacts emails and direct phones later. In
the mean time you can try the general info: American Embassy,
Ermita, Manila, Phone: 632-301-2000, Fax: 632-708-9714 or 632-
708-9723, Email: FBU.Manila[at]ssa.gov  It is nearly impossible to
get a reply from them.

Second, going to the Consulate here in Phenom Phen, Cambodia was
nearly a wasted trip. I only got the "list of contacts" there and
was told that the US Embassy is not the Social Security Office.
So for me it was a jack pot!

Persistence, patience and politeness is required when you want to
contact your individual contact in Manila. They forward your
emails to a "case worker".

Get direct deposit to a Stateside bank! Keep a Stateside address
in C/O (somebody). Sign up at http://www.ssa.gov/  !!!!

Be honest. The only thing they want to know is "are you alive";
"do you qualify for benefits"; and "are you really where you say
you are". Things are getting better. There is facial recognition
at ATM's for most larger banks with international connections.
Take off you hat and glasses. They are looking for fraud.

There will be no need to report monthly if you do as I have
indicated above. Best Wishes and Good Fortune.

You are correct in saying that the Embassy is a waste of time. I made an appointment, waited for 2 hours, all to have a document notarized, and when it was finally my turn, the clerk told me that I didn't need to get it notarized at all. They could have saved me a trip, 2 days time, and being pissed off (again) at our government's inefficiency.  I too, live on my SS benefits, which I have direct deposited to my stateside account. I have only had to deal with them once, and I called the stateside help line. Never had a problem since then. If you have the right bank here, you can do SWIFT transfers from your stateside account to an account here easily. It costs about $25 or so, My bank is ABA, and they seem to be leading the rest of the Cambodia banks in more advanced features, like internet banking, bill pay to the Electric Company and EZ Com internet service. You can also add minutes to many cell phone companies directly from your account. Saves lots of time. I recommend them. Customer service is well trained, fluent in English, and all university educated in banking.

Interesting information and thanks! I just had my benefits suspended in March because I didn't receive the form they sent me (the big 6 question one). They sent it to the Philippines. I am in Cambodia and they have my address here, consequently I didn't fill it out and return it on time so they suspended my benefits.
. Mine is SSDI and though I have filled out the requisite paperwork and faxed it back to the U.S.  I have not had my benefits restored as of yet.  I had to send my report to an office in Baltimore, Maryland. It's a bit frustrating and the constant phone calls to the U.S. office has yielded no results.
Any suggestions?   They have not referred me to the Manila office.
Cheers!

About two years ago I applied for S.S. while living in Vietnam through the Manila S.S. office. The process was relatively smooth. In Vietnam, it is required that the recipient appear at either the U.S. Embassy in Ha Noi or the Consulate in Saigon every month to sign one's name in the S.S. book. This is the case even if benefits are deposited directly into a bank account in the US, as mine are.  The Consulate in Saigon also visits Da Nang on a regular basis so recipients  living there apparently do not have to go to Saigon every month to sign in.
I moved back to Cambodia a few months ago and my experience with the US Embassy in Phnom Penh was quite good. I brought over a copy of my Phnom Penh housing contract stamped by the local cops and filled out the S.S. address changed form, which the Embassy sent to Manila on my behalf. I never missed a check in the process. I did notify Manila in advance that I would be moving to which they replied that I should go to the Embassy in Phnom Penh to fill out the address change form.
Best of luck to all S.S. recipients.

Darren, I suggest you use the numbers the OP kindly provided and call Manila yourself. Patiently explain your issues and they may help. I've found them to be quite helpful but they don't respond well to pressure or what they may perceive as rudeness! Good luck.

I actually got it sorted. I was going to call Manila but they deposited the money into my account, including the retroactive payment for March,  so I'm set for the rest of this year and know what to expect for next year.  Thanks for all the help and advice, much appreciated!

Only a clarification. According to My Social Security SDI is not available to persons living outside the United States, only SSDI and regular SS.

Searched the forum. Has anyone recent info on doing SS Direct Deposit into Cambodia. Any forms, banks accepting, time frame.

Steven

I would probably check with HSBC by visiting the bank. I did some research before on this and I seem to remember HSBC may be on some list that SSA maintains. I don’t do this with mine. I don’t stay in Cambodia too often even though I have maintained a retirement extension of stay in the past.

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