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U.S. Social Security Benefits for Thai Spouses of Americans

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Social Security.

I get this question rather frequently with respect to those who are interested in the Social Security benefits that may or may not accrue to their Thai spouse. Oftentimes the question is it somebody that has moved to Thailand or perhaps the couple lived together in the United States for a while but now they live in Thailand and the individuals in question usually want to know,  "well how do I get my Thai spouse Social Security benefits?" Well, unless you meet certain requirements, that may not be possible and the major requirement is a five-year residency requirement in the United States with one's foreign spouse; in this case Thai.

I am going to go ahead and throw this up because I want people to see. It is from the Social Security Administration, ssa.gov. It is titled Program Operations Manual System (POMS) and it refers to RS 02610.025.  Title: 5 Year Residency Requirement for Alien Dependents/Survivors Outside the United States.  Quoting Directly: “Policy: In 1983, the Social Security Act was amended Public Law 98-21 section 342 to include an additional provision regarding the payment of Social Security benefits to aliens outside the US. Section 202 T11 of the Social Security Act requires that certain non US citizen dependent and survivor beneficiaries were first eligible for social security benefits after December 1984 must have resided in the US for at least 5 years as the spouse, widow/widower, child or parent of the number holder in order to receive US benefits while outside the US.” 

And then another one. We will go ahead and throw this up as it is referenced in the prior quote.  That is from Social Security Administration as well, ssa.gov. Again, Program Operations Manual System. TN15 (05 – 08) - Quoting directly-

“Spousal Relationships - spousal relationships include spouses, widows, widowers, divorced spouses, surviving divorced spouses or surviving divorced mothers or fathers.

When the residency requirement is met - An alien entitled to benefits as a spouse widow/widower, divorced spouse, surviving divorced spouse or surviving divorced mother or father must meet the following requirement. The alien must have resided in the US for five or more years and the alien must have been in a spousal relationship with the person on whose earnings record the entitlement is based for five or more years."

So this comes up in the context out here relatively frequently and I made this video because I wanted to just provide clarification to these folks. Because it is unfortunate that I have to say, "Unfortunately, based on your situation, if anything were to happen there is no benefit that will accrue to your Thai spouse." It is unfortunate when I have to do that and I am making this video to provide as much clarification as I can is the reason I have gone ahead and put up these subsections up here.

I hope this provides clarity for those watching and I hope it provides some insight into possibly for some maybe changing their lifestyle a little bit in order to provide Social Security benefits should the need arise.