U.S. SSA and Veterans Benefits in Vietnam Update

Vietnam has been ADDED by the Social Security Administration to the list of countries with a Direct Deposit agreement with the United States:

https://www.ssa.gov/international/countrylist6.htm

Plus, the most current information for U.S. Citizens as to where we can live AND receive payments is available through the Social Security Administration "Payments Abroad Screening Tool":

https://www.ssa.gov/international/payme … ideUS.html

I'm aware this site is full of old information which has only changed recently (perhaps after the arms deal) and I'll bet I get flamed for posting this, but current, updated info shows no restrictions or sanctions in place against Vietnam EXCEPT for non-U.S. Citizens who are entitled to benefits AND living outside the U.S.A.

V.A. Benefit payments are covered by these same international agreements, so are also eligible to be paid in Vietnam now.

Even with these updated links, I am not the final authority on this.

SSA and Treasury say that questions about both SSA benefits AND V.A. Benefits payable in Vietnam may be directed to this special unit which has trained personnel who can address inquiries regarding both programs:

American Embassy
1201 Roxas Boulevard
Ermita, Manila 0930
Philippines
Phone: 632-301-2000
Fax: 632-708-9714 or 632-708-9723
Email: FBU.Manila[at]ssa.gov

I hope this most recent info is helpful.

Cheers!

Gordy

Regarding the VA - of which I draw a monthly payment - the official line is that we vets can collect our benefits while living abroad. This is with US vets that I’m referring.

onceuponastage :

Regarding the VA - of which I draw a monthly payment - the official line is that we vets can collect our benefits while living abroad. This is with US vets that I’m referring.

Yes. What had not been allowed until recently was having your benefits direct deposited to a Vietnamese bank, or to have your check mailed to you at your Vietnam address.

I don't know the exact date those changes were made. I only know that now both are possible.

The only two countries where residence will suspend and accrue your benefits until you leave that country are North Korea and Cuba.

The list of countries where payments cannot be sent are:

Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
However, (SSA) can make exceptions for
certain eligible persons in these countries.
To qualify for an exception, you must
meet and agree to restricted payment
conditions. One of the conditions is to
appear personally at a U.S. Embassy or
U.S. Consulate every six months. For
more information about these conditions
and the qualifications for an exception,
contact the Social Security Administration
or your Federal Benefits Unit.

(From SSA.GOV)

Great info - thanks for your research!

Wish the information was correct, but:

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202402200

It shows the current country's to present and Vietnam isn't listed. I sent a e-mail to Ms Gomez, the SSA expert in Manila to see if by chance the POM hasn't been updated yet and will post her reply as soon as I get it.
Rick

Budman1 :

Wish the information was correct, but:

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202402200

It shows the current country's to present and Vietnam isn't listed. I sent a e-mail to Ms Gomez, the SSA expert in Manila to see if by chance the POM hasn't been updated yet and will post her reply as soon as I get it.
Rick

Probable. It is dated 8-17

This is the list which has been updated:

https://www.ssa.gov/international/countrylist6.htm

Cheers!

Gordy

Gordy again I wish it was true but that link you provided doesn't really show Vietnam as a DD country, not directly any way. Go way down to the bottom of this link  dated Jan 2018 and you'll find Vietnam and read the foot note please:

https://www.ssa.gov/deposit/foreign.htm

Ms Gomez usually responds back fairly quick and I'll post her response.

Rick

Budman1 :

*snip*

Ms Gomez usually responds back fairly quick and I'll post her response.

Rick

Hey Rick,

Have you heard back from Ms Gomez yet?

Gordy

Budman1 :

Gordy again I wish it was true but that link you provided doesn't really show Vietnam as a DD country, not directly any way. Go way down to the bottom of this link  dated Jan 2018 and you'll find Vietnam and read the foot note please:

https://www.ssa.gov/deposit/foreign.htm

Ms Gomez usually responds back fairly quick and I'll post her response.

Rick

Hey Rick,

Still wondering what you've heard from Ms Gomez?

According to this most recent report, Direct Deposits have begun in Vietnam:

Thank you for the link to the current discussion OceanBeach.

     And the response by Ms Gomez is classic Manila based on my experience.  When I first signed up for Social Security nearly five years ago they were prompt and friendly.  My two subsequent attempts to contact them were disappointing.  The first question was met with a "I guess you can do that?" about five weeks after I asked them and supplied a link to their web site.  My second attempt to ask a question a couple years later was simply ignored. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for their response.

OceanBeach92107 :
Budman1 :

Gordy again I wish it was true but that link you provided doesn't really show Vietnam as a DD country, not directly any way. Go way down to the bottom of this link  dated Jan 2018 and you'll find Vietnam and read the foot note please:

https://www.ssa.gov/deposit/foreign.htm

Ms Gomez usually responds back fairly quick and I'll post her response.

Rick

Hey Rick,

Still wondering what you've heard from Ms Gomez?

According to this most recent report, Direct Deposits have begun in Vietnam:

Ms Gomez hasn't got back to me yet and I guess she has moved to another department. HOWEVER LOOK AT THIS:

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202402408

Go for it guys, I am also strongly considering it.
Rick

Budman1 :

Ms Gomez hasn't got back to me yet and I guess she has moved to another department. HOWEVER LOOK AT THIS:

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202402408

Go for it guys, I am also strongly considering it.
Rick

As a follow-up on the POMS it appears that AGRIBANK has been designated as the F.I. here in Vietnam to receive the IDDs:


http://www.agribank.com.vn/english.aspx

o You have to currently have a Vietnam address indicated on file with the agency that your receiving the benefits from, not a Stateside address.

o The account with AGRIBANK has to be a VND account not a USD account.

o The form to request the IDD to start is a SF 1199-I with all the agency's (DFAS, OPM, SSA) except for VA  Comp or Disability payments, they need a VA Form 24-0296.

Rick

Hello OceanBeach92107 & Budman1

Thank you for this valuable info on the SSA & Vet benefits in VN, it was most helpful.

Hello USA VN Expats.

I’m trying to understand the need to report to a US consulate to receive SSA benefits.
It appears that these various posts were all done before February 2018 when SSA allowed direct deposits into VN.

Can anyone share the info if there is still a requirement to report to a US consulate to receive benefits after February 2018?

Thank you, much appreciated…

Thai_FX :

Hello USA VN Expats.

I’m trying to understand the need to report to a US consulate to receive SSA benefits.
It appears that these various posts were all done before February 2018 when SSA allowed direct deposits into VN.

Can anyone share the info if there is still a requirement to report to a US consulate to receive benefits after February 2018?

Thank you, much appreciated…

Not sure why you say that about posting dates. Everything in this thread (including my OP) has been posted since the very end of February, 2018.

Also, the SSA links are not static, but dynamic: meaning that, as SSA updates info regularly on their site, the links now take you to the latest info.

There is also no longer a need to report to the embassy or consulate. That was required when Vietnam appeared on the list of restricted countries, and regular reporting to the embassy/consulate WAS a condition for receiving your benefits by mail in Vietnam.

Since Vietnam is no longer on that list, there is no more need to report to the embassy/consulate.

Please re-read this info I shared earlier from the SSA site:

-----copy/repost-----

The list of countries where payments cannot be sent are:

Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
However, (SSA) can make exceptions for
certain eligible persons in these countries.
To qualify for an exception, you must
meet and agree to restricted payment
conditions. One of the conditions is to
appear personally at a U.S. Embassy or
U.S. Consulate every six months. For
more information about these conditions
and the qualifications for an exception,
contact the Social Security Administration
or your Federal Benefits Unit.

(From SSA.GOV)

ADMIN: Please consider making this a pinned post on the Vietnam Forum. While the info is mostly for USA Expats, the thread does contain all the info they need to become informed on this important topic.

To date I've already referred people from other threads to this thread, at least a half dozen times.

Thanks!

[at]OceanBeach92107

Have asked admin about pinning this.

If you look at post #13 you see there is now a procedure to have your SS deposited directly to your Vietnam back account if you have one with AGRIBank. After I posted the information my wife and I spoke with them at the branch in Can tho. The manger had to call back the main office to clarify the procedure. We have between us 6 monthly retirement deposits going to BofA in the States and we decided to try DD with the lowest amount one first to our AGRIBank account. Its been two months since we started it and haven't had a bit of problem. We are now considering changing the other 5 to DD here in Vietnam.
Rick

HelloBeach92107,

I was referencing other post in the forum, indeed it is dynamic.

Because of the feisty nature of all the changes I decided to contacted an agent to get the latest and greatest immigration information.

I would encourage other (USA) & new researchers to do the same, it greatly reduces keeping pace with the cascade of changes.

Thank you for sharing your findings it is most helpful.

Budman1 :
Budman1 :

Ms Gomez hasn't got back to me yet and I guess she has moved to another department. HOWEVER LOOK AT THIS:

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202402408

Go for it guys, I am also strongly considering it.
Rick

As a follow-up on the POMS it appears that AGRIBANK has been designated as the F.I. here in Vietnam to receive the IDDs:


http://www.agribank.com.vn/english.aspx

o You have to currently have a Vietnam address indicated on file with the agency that your receiving the benefits from, not a Stateside address.

o The account with AGRIBANK has to be a VND account not a USD account.

o The form to request the IDD to start is a SF 1199-I with all the agency's (DFAS, OPM, SSA) except for VA  Comp or Disability payments, they need a VA Form 24-0296.

Rick

Rick, Priscilla has made the thread sticky, so I am quoting to make your important post more recent.

Have you thought about creating a new thread with this specific info, along with your other follow up about your success using direct deposit in Vietnam?

I have a question -- does anyone know the exchange rate at Agribank?  Is it favorable or do they take something off during the exchange from dollars to dong?  Thanks.

Hi paulmsm,

For sure expats living in VN can answer your question best, but for what it is worth…

I just contacted the Philippine SSA to inquire about transferring direct SSA despots to Thailand and switching electric deposits to VN.

It took 29 days to get a reply and the agent cautioned me on going with electronic transfers and mentioned that there have been problems. If this is fact or political fiction I have no idea? And to make matters worse he suggested a physical check to be mailed to VN!!!

Here is his response to my change of transfer inquiry:

“Dear Mr. Xxxx:

Any bank in Vietnam can accept direct deposit transfer. Your account must be in Vietnamese money and NOT/NOT U.S. Dollars.

However, please be advised that we continue to experience difficulty of sending money to Vietnam at the moment.

Some of our clients prefer they receive check instead.

Nevertheless, attached is the Direct Deposit form to be completed by the Vietnamese bank. You can scan and email it to me once completed.

I strongly suggest that you do not close you Bangkok Bank account until your benefits are being deposited to your Vietnam account.

Thank you.”

So I’m now thinking about using a different bank to receive SSA electronic deposits to and then use Transferwise to move funds into VN.

Things change so fast these days that dedicating a SSA deposit to a country that I am currently living in may not be desirable to live in “X” amount of months from the current experience.

My current thoughts are to use a neutral country to have my direct deposits made to and then pivot those funds with Transferwise to the country I am currently living or traveling in.

Look forward to other expats thoughts and experiences on this subject…

Hello expat community,
I am new here at this forum.  I am still not getting a clarification on this issue.  Hope someone can clear it up.  My father in law has his US SSA and pension deposited in the Bank of America in Seattle, WA.  When withdrawing from the bank in Vietnam, both banks, BoA and the bank in Vietnam , charged him withdrawing fees: $1 from the bank in Vietnam and $5 from BoA for each transaction.  Which bank in the US and Vietnam should he go with, so that he will not be charged with fees? Thanks in advance.

DreamingofFIRE :

Hello expat community,
I am new here at this forum.  I am still not getting a clarification on this issue.  Hope someone can clear it up.  My father in law has his US SSA and pension deposited in the Bank of America in Seattle, WA.  When withdrawing from the bank in Vietnam, both banks, BoA and the bank in Vietnam , charged him withdrawing fees: $1 from the bank in Vietnam and $5 from BoA for each transaction.  Which bank in the US and Vietnam should he go with, so that he will not be charged with fees? Thanks in advance.

Hi,

At the risk (too late) of taking this thread  :offtopic:

This is page two of a thread where recent discussion has covered this well:

Expat.Com thread on ATM charges & limits

Basically, he needs to use a U.S. Bank that 1. Doesn't charge for ATM withdrawals and 2. Rebates any charges by other banks and 3. Doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.

I choose Schwab. Others mention Fidelity. Some maintain a U.S. Citibank account and use their card at Citigroup institutions here.

Schwab works best for me because I can use it at any ATM that will allow the withdrawal (either the local bank or VISA may reject the card for unknown reasons).

Schwab never charges for ATM use, rebates all ATM charges, and doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.

I respectfully ask anyone commenting on this  :offtopic: to do so after following that link above. It keeps the relevant posts on this thread topic more easily accessible.

The above comment is correct that Schwab and most other banks do not charge an international transaction fee. But it was never them charging it. The branded card you use, be it Visa, Mastercard etc. is the one that charges the international transaction fee. In short you have two fees, the ATM fee ( refunded for up to 25 transactions a month by Schwab) and the international transaction fee.

Budman1 :
Budman1 :

Ms Gomez hasn't got back to me yet and I guess she has moved to another department. HOWEVER LOOK AT THIS:

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202402408

Go for it guys, I am also strongly considering it.
Rick

As a follow-up on the POMS it appears that AGRIBANK has been designated as the F.I. here in Vietnam to receive the IDDs:


http://www.agribank.com.vn/english.aspx

o You have to currently have a Vietnam address indicated on file with the agency that your receiving the benefits from, not a Stateside address.

o The account with AGRIBANK has to be a VND account not a USD account.

o The form to request the IDD to start is a SF 1199-I with all the agency's (DFAS, OPM, SSA) except for VA  Comp or Disability payments, they need a VA Form 24-0296.

Rick

Most important, first-person account in this thread. Quoting here to get back ON TOPIC for new readers.

Thank you, Oceanbeach92107.

Hello:

I am a newbie on this forum, still resident in Thailand, arriving in HCMC in April 2019 intending to retire there.

I confirmed that Vietnam are now enrolled in the SSA Direct-Deposit scheme for SS pensions since Feb. 2018.

Which bank(s) in HCMC are authorized to handle such accounts? Do they require the pensioner have a particular type of VN visa in order to open the account? What is the time frame to establish the account?

Many thanks

Phillip

I think most here will recommend you hav your SS check direct deposited to a stateside bank.

I hope you are aware that SSA will send you a verification letter once every 2 years. The time will depend on the last 4 of your SSN. If you fail to respond to the letter your check will be automatically cutoff. So it is good to know the contact info for tge SSA laison in Manila and just write her and tell her your current address and any changes e.g marriage, childern, divorce. Here where I live I never get normal mail delivery. Can only get FedEx etc.

Hello Diazo and thanks for your reply.

I have lived outside the USA for over 40 years and have current savings accounts in Philippines and Thailand only.

Would still prefer an HCMC bank for this purpose, at least at the outset of my Viet stay (from next April). My direct-dep acc't  for SSA purposes is here in Thailand until April.

Thanks again.

Hello again Diazo.


Yes, I am  familiar with the annual confirmatory letters from the SSA.

I tried to get info from the MNL SSA office twice in the past two months (concerning my impending transfer from TH to VN next April--and have gotten zero replies to date. Sort of lost confidence in them.

Phillip

I'm starting the SSA application process now and VN wasn't on the list of countries designated for direct deposit. I got the impression that a monthly check would be mailed,  but I'm not sure.

One thing I do know is that whenever I transferred USD from my American account to BIDV they would put a hold on the money for 20 days.  I can only imagine how long they'll hold a check before it'll clear the bank

Good-Man:

The latest SSA list (showing VN listed for direct-deposit SSA transfers) is linked in Report #7 from Budman 1 above. I too noticed Vietnam was missing from the original link posted in the opening messages.

Lanna Lord

Good-Man

Is "BIDV" the bank about to handle your SSA pension transfers?

Phillip ("Lanna Prince")

*** I tried to get info from the MNL SSA office twice in the past two months (concerning my impending transfer from TH to VN next April--and have gotten zero replies to date. Sort of lost confidence in them. ***

That sounds like a good reason to not complicate the issue for the SSA.  :/

It's my experience that if they can mess it up they will.

Yes, she can be hard to get answers out of. But she covers a lot of ground. I find things run smoothly if I drive the boat. I just send her a letter each October ( the month my verification goes out, telling her I still live in the same place and no changes. Also tell her I am not able to get mail and got cutoff twice before so i am now proactive. Since I stated that I have had no problems.

Hey Phillip,

I just submitted my SSA application for retirement benefits just a few days ago  and Viet Nam wasn't listed as a country with direct deposit.

BIDV is one of the banks where I have accounts in VN. It's one of the few VN  banks that allow a USD account.

As u go through the SSA application process I'm sure I'll find out more about my options for direct deposit

GOOD MAN SAYS:  :   One thing I do know is that whenever I transferred USD from my American account to BIDV they would put a hold on the money for 20 days.  I can only imagine how long they'll hold a check before it'll clear the bank

I recommend you change banks, I have a USD acct and a VN Dong acct in SACCOM Bank - I transfer $$ to the $$ acct, draw out $$ at a cost of about $12 usd up to $10,000..   sent $12000 last time and they charged me $18.................we have four VN Dong accts, all, all money is transferred from the US and is available in a few days, not weeks like in years gone by.  Days!!!   I have been doing this for almost 18 years now.

SSA will not send checks anymore, if they did, it would be to the nearest Consulate or Emnbassy for pickup.  It has to be Electronic Transfers now.    That sid I still recommend people use a US Bank for SSA Payments, unless Saigon has a Bangkok Bank Branch, you open an acct with them and the SSA Check is sent to the New York branch and you can draw from that in the nearest Bangkok Bank Branch  -  I was in a Bus in Saigon a few months ago and saw a Bangkok Bank Branch, but don;t know where it was.

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