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Apr 25, 2010

Making It Tough To Live Overseas?

The Living In Guanajuato blog discusses issues of interest to Americans living in Mexico. Here is an excerpt from a recent post that gives some information that I find surprising about some issues that come up in my practice from time to time:
If you are retiring here know that the American government does not trust direct deposit into Mexican banks. If you get Social Security and want it deposited into a Mexican bank, this can be done. But, here is how it works.

What SSA does is transfer it to the bank of the American Embassy in Mexico City. From there it is sent to your Mexican bank account. ...

Well, I can hear you pontificate, I have my Social Security deposited to my bank account in the States.

Well...I respond...the US Feds will eventually figure out that you do not really live in the States and will snatch your account right out from underneath you.

For real, I am not joking. Unless you live in the States, and they will verify this, you have to have a Mexican Bank account and will have your American bank account seized. You have to live FULL TIME in the States to maintain your American Bank account. If you put your daughter's address, or whoever, down as your place of residence, and someone's American phone number, they will check this out. ...

Now, let's say you get your SSDI or SSI payment on the third of the month. According to the SSA Rules, when your payment date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, that is the third of the month falls on a weekend day, then you should be paid on the Friday before your payment date. Get that? If you get your check on the third and the third falls on a Sunday, then you'll be paid on the first which would be a Friday. ...

If your payment date falls on the third of the month and the third is on a Saturday or Sunday, you will not get paid on the first which would be a Friday. You will get paid sometime that following week and when exactly is anyone's guess.
I am concerned that the person writing this may not know what he or she is talking about. I was unaware of any problem with receiving direct deposits of U.S. Social Security benefits to U.S. bank accounts while living overseas. The issues may be different in other countries. I expect that the U.S. does make direct deposits to banks in Western Europe, for instance. Having the U.S. Embassy in Mexico re-forward direct deposits to Mexican bank accounts sounds bizarre. I guess my advice in the future will be to check with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate about the process for receiving U.S. Social Security benefits while living overseas.

Update: I have received e-mails telling me that Living in Guanajuato has everything wrong. Americans living abroad have to let Social Security know they are still alive each year. Otherwise there is no problem with Social Security direct deposits to either U.S. or foreign banks. I am sorry to have posted another person's nonsense.

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  • 2 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    For one thing, you can't get SSI living in Mexico. I have no problem with SSA tracking those folks down and charging them with fraud--but I think there are very few. The rest of that sounds like BS. Thousands of Americans live in Mexico and receive their benefits with no problem.

    11:01 PM, April 25, 2010  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I agree with the previous commenter. Generally any problems with direct deposit to foreign countries depends on the reliability and technological development of the country's banking system. Beneficiaries who live in countries with modern, electronic banking systems such as Japan and most Western Eurpoean nations have no difficulty receiving benefits via direct deposit.

    8:44 AM, April 26, 2010  

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