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Applying for Social Security Benefits Online in the Philippines

Applying for Social Security Benefits Online in the Philippines
[smartads] My wife (Lita) will be eligible for Social Security (age 62) in January 2012, although she still looks like she needs to go another 10 years at least.  We were thinking that we would have to make a trip back to the US, possibly Texas, to get this accomplished.  I decided to examine our options to see how much of a problem it would be to apply for benefits online or here in the Philippines, or even if we could do this.

My first step was to find an e-mail address for a point of contact.  That address turned out to be:

I sent the e-mail requesting the information on 11/11/11 and to my surprise, I got a quick response on 11/13/11.  I figured only 2 days for government work AND in the Philippines, now that’s some good stuff.  I’d like to give out the name of the person that was so quick to respond but I’m not sure he would like that, so I won’t.

Waterfront Hotel in Cebu

In the e-mail he sent, he requested 2 more bits of information.  He wanted to know her social security number and our contact number here in Samar.  Well I’m not one for just throwing around social security numbers, but I decided that if I really want to get this done, this will be necessary, so I sent it.  I also gave him our home phone number.

On 11/17/11, my wife got a phone call from the US Embassy.  He talked to her for awhile and he told her the options available.  We could go to Manila to do a personal interview or go to Cebu, fill out the paperwork, have them forward it to Manila, then complete a telephone interview later.  We opted to go to Manila, but after he sent this next e-mail we discovered we had a problem.

Dear sir,

 I understand your wife wants to fly to Manila for her personal interview for social security benefits.

 Please advise me when in January you want to be scheduled.

 I need the ff original documents on day of interview:

 1.       Her birth certificate

2.       Her baptismal certificate

3.       Her US passport

4.       Her US naturalization certificate.

 Thank you.

The problem is here is that the only document we have of these 4 is her US Passport.  Her Naturalization Certificate is in storage in Texas, her birth certificate was destroyed in a fire at the hospital many years ago, and we are not even sure about her having a Baptismal Certificate.  I sent the man an e-mail explaining all this, asking if there was alternate documentation or another course of action to take.  To my shock, amazement and extreme delight, he called back in less than 3 minutes.  I swear I had to physical close my mouth because I was in such awe of the rapid response.

I was thinking that we would now have to go to the US because we did not have the documents that we needed.  But, again to my surprise, I was wrong because he had the solution for us.  He said that we should go to Cebu to the US Consulate to update her social security information.  After we update it, Cebu will send it directly to him (we have to be sure to request that) and he will call us later for her to do a telephone interview.

Now, as I said, I have been totally amazed at the rapid response to this, but if he would have told us the documents we needed from the beginning, then we would have known that we would have to go to Cebu, and not Manila, from the start.  Of course it took up very little of my time, but it’s the principal of the thing.

Just as soon as we can afford to go, I guess it will be January, or February at the latest, we will take care of that.  I wish we could go now to get it over with, but that just can’t be without the funds for the trip to Cebu.

So it seems that as long as you have all the documentation that they ask for above you can go directly to Manila, get a personal interview and be done with the process.  If not, then you need to go to Cebu, fill out the paperwork, wait for it to be relayed to Manila, then wait for Manila to call you.

I will update this story via the blog as I find out things and I will write another separate post immediately after our Cebu trip, whenever that may be.

Reference:  The US Consulate is located at the Waterfront Hotel (in Lahug) Cebu.  (Be careful here because there are 2 Waterfront Hotels.  Be sure to get the one in Lahug).   Their phone number is: 032 231 1261.

The picture above from this website : is the correct Waterfront Hotel where the US Consulate is located.  This is also a very nice looking website so taking a look at it anyway could be helpful to you.

SPECIAL NOTE:  After all the research I did on this, we ended up going to Texas to take care of the social security.  My mom really wanted us to come home and it’s too hard to say no to my mom.  I did learn some things from this though and I hope you did too.


  1. Dear sir,

    I would like to make an appointment about my social security ,regarding to claim my husband social security. I am a widow and will be 60 years this coming April 10, I ‘m American citizen and living here in the Philippines.
    What all requirements need to bring.

    Thank you

    • I am not with the social security office so you can not make an appointment through me. You should send an e-mail, as I did, to get information on what you will need. It’s not very hard. You can also just visit the US Consulate in Cebu, but I’d e-mail first to make sure it’s not a wasted trip. In addition to that you can always contact the Social Security Administration Office. I’m sure you’ll be fine since you are now pointed in the right direction.

  2. Hello Charles Harman here, from I noticed the photo at the top of this post is one I took of the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu I think in 2010. We were visiting the Casino where my wife actually walked away with more than she cam in with. That’s my wife on the left in the gray top dress facing away from the Camera with her friend. Anyway you are free to use any of my photos you like on any of our posts. I have been a photographer since age 8 and a retired USAF photographer. I am also a web developer and now Private Tour guide for Cebu area. Please visit my site and you are welcome to post if you like. Email me after joining and I will upgrade you to editor.
    Charles Harman

    • I also wanted to add I too like the Eagles and Tex-Mex and I am originally from Alexandria Virginia, but spent the last 30+ years in Fort Worth Texas. I play the Bass Guitar and like country and western and oldies music from the 50s.
      Lets get together next time you are in the Cebu area, I am at Tumulak village on Mactan Island, directions are on the website:

    • Well Howdy Charles. Thank you for checking out my site and thank you for letting me know it’s okay to use your pictures. I try not to use any pictures without giving credit for the picture to the person that took it though. It’s just not right to do otherwise. I’ve already got you site listed under “Other Expat Sites” from before. I just happen to get a picture from that site. I chose that one because we need to go to the US Consulate there and I know it’s at that hotel. When I looked it up, that photo popped up. I thought I joined your site already, but I guess I didn’t. I must have added it that day and forget to sign up. I’ll take care of that later today. I also am retired USAF, but not a photographer, but a communications specialist I think is the last name they gave our career field. They changed it a few times and merged with other AFSC’s a couple more times too. I saw that down the road from that Waterfront Hotel there was a Mexican restaurant. I don’t suppose you checked that out, did you? If so, how was it?
      Actually I know that I have had a message from you before, I remember the bass guitar, tex-mex and Fort Worth thing. It’s just been awhile. After I finish eating and doing the post for today, I will look it up.
      The UJ is for Uncle John. One of my niece’s in Texas came up with that and it just sort of stuck. I get called all kinds of things, that’s just another one added.
      Okay, gotta go eat now. I’ll check out your site further later and find out if I signed up yet.

  3. Sorry about that I ment to say Feb for some reason I had Oct on the brain. Say that you will be turning 62 in Jan and this is when you want them to start your SS. But they will only start it in Feb because they pay 1 month behind.

    • Okay, that’s what I thought you meant by your statement, but than that ‘Oct’ really threw me for a loop. Thanks for clearing that up.

  4. I’m Able to work with SSD in Manila online, been very successful with the SSA sincer i moved here a year ago

    • That’s good to know, we may have to use them for awhile in case things don’t work out right away.

  5. You should file for SS as soon as posible because they do not pay in the arear for payments which is owed. This is why they say to file 3 months ahead when you want to start your SS. Not only that, they will tell you that they pay 1 month behind. Like say you want them to start payment in Jan they will start Oct. The longer you wait the more you loose.

    • I’m trying to get Lita over there as soon as possible. I don’t understand what you are talking about with this sentence though:

      Like say you want them to start payment in Jan they will start Oct.

      What does “Jan” have to do with “Oct” in this case?
      Thanks for the information though.

Texan in the Philippines