Frequently Asked Questions

The U.S. Embassy Jerusalem’s Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) assists all residents of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank in obtaining information about agencies that administer federal benefits, including Social Security, Veterans Affairs, Office of Personnel Management, Railroad, and Department of Labor. Review our Frequently Asked Questions and complete the On Line Inquiry Form .  (The Branch Office in Tel Aviv does NOT have a Federal Benefits Unit and cannot answer questions regarding Social Security or other federal benefits issues.)

If you would like to apply for social security benefits or a social security number (card), please review the following information closely.

Effective February 1 2019, the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) is implementing an on line appointment system for any kind of enumeration inquiry by scheduling an on line appointment HERE.  Applicants seeking any other sort of FBU service will be required to complete and submit the On Line Inquiry Form and our office will contact you accordingly. Applicants who are coming for routine passport and registration of birth services and also seeking FBU services will be turned away if they have not scheduled an appointment with FBU in advance.

We encourage you to file online for Social Security retirement, spouse, Medicare Only, or disability on the internet at the Social Security website or by clicking on this link.

It is secure, fast, and easy. Once you submit the application online, print the receipt, and wait. We will contact you in about 6-8 weeks to review your claim, to take applications for other eligible family members, and to request needed documents.

The online hours of operation are:

  • Monday to Saturday: 12 noon (5am EST) to midnight
  • Sunday: 3 PM (8am EST) to midnight

If you are unable to find your answer, for faster service, please complete the On Line Inquiry Form.

If you have questions about working outside the United States while you receive benefits, read Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States (PDF – 429KB). If you are under your Full Retirement Age, you will not be eligible for benefits for every month you work more than 45 hours outside the United States in employment or self-employment (not subject to U.S. Social Security taxes). It doesn’t matter how much you earned or how many hours you worked each day. You will be considered to be working on any day you:

  • Work as an employee or self-employed person;
  • Have an agreement to work even if you do not actually work because of sickness, vacation, etc.; or
  • Are the owner or part owner of a trade or business even if you do not actually work in the trade or business or receive any income from it.

Generally, if your benefits are withheld because of your work, we cannot pay benefits to anyone else receiving benefits on your record for that month. However, the work of others receiving benefits on your record affects only their own benefits. Under certain conditions, if your work is covered by U.S. Social Security, the work performed outside the U.S. by a U.S. citizen or resident is covered by the U.S. Social Security program. If your work is covered by the U.S. Social Security, the same annual retirement test that applies to people in the U.S. applies to you.

There are many options for direct deposit; we do not recommend one over the other.  You can send the information below for the type of direct deposit you are requesting along with your name, telephone number, last four digits of your Social Security number, mailing address to the On Line Inquiry Form and we will contact you to make the change.

  • If you want to enroll in a U.S. Dollar Account and you are residing in Jerusalem or Israel, you must go to the following Bank Organizations only. Important Note: You must mention at the financial institution that you want to apply for a U.S. Dollar Account for U.S. Retirement Benefits:
  • First International Bank of Israel Ltd.’s
  • Bank Hapoalim
  • Bank of Jordan

If you want to enroll in a local bank account in the local currency, you must provide us with the bank number, branch number and your account number. Send the information to the Federal Benefits Unit. If you are unable to find your answer, for faster service, submit your inquiry by completing the On Line Inquiry Form.

If you have a bank in the U.S. already opened, you must provide the U.S. bank Routing Transit Number, your bank account number, and specify the type of the account (Checking or Savings).For faster service, send this information by completing the On Line Inquiry Form.

The documents required for a Social Security number depend on the situation. Please follow the instructions below regarding the type of application you are submitting. IMPORTANT NOTE: All applications for original cards have additional requirements, which delay the process and take about 3-4 months.

  1. How do I apply for an original first time Social Security number for myself or my child age 12 or older?

All applicants over the age of 12 must appear in person. It is important you follow all instructions and complete all actions listed below before you schedule an on line appointment at HERE, when you schedule the appointment you will receive an official email confirming the Post location, date and time.

You must bring your original documents plus one photocopy of each document to your appointment.

It is very rare for a U.S. citizen above the age of 12 not to have been assigned a Social Security number. The most common reason for such an occurrence is a child born in the U.S. who moved abroad while very young.

1.) You must submit original plus one photocopy of documents to prove the allegation of absence from the U.S. as the reason a Social Security number was never assigned. The documentation must be comprehensive and date from the time the person departed the U.S. to the present to provide sufficient evidence.

The documentation can include:

  • School records such as report cards or a letter from the school confirming dates of attendance
  • Travel documents such as current or canceled passports (U.S. or other)
  • Employment records
  • Medical records
  • Proof of registration with a doctor or clinic

 

2.) Download, complete, and sign the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF – 207KB). All questions must be answered and legible. Please type or print the answers.

3.) Provide the following original documents plus one photocopy of each document to prove age, citizenship, identity, and identity of parent signing the application if child under age 12.

Proof of Your Age (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. birth certificate along with a completed Form SSA- L706 (PDF – 213KB). It must be signed and submitted, along with the application and other documentation. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record
  • Foreign birth certificate
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)

Proof of U.S. citizenship (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. birth certificate, or U.S. Passport (unexpired)
  • Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Original Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate

Proof of identity (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. passport, unexpired and signed
  • Original foreign passport, unexpired and signed
  • Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application, if applicable – a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18; a child can sign the form above age 12. (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)
    • U.S. or foreign passport, unexpired and signed
    • Driver’s License
    • Country or national I.D. Card with a current photo

For more details visit this website.

  1. How do I apply for a Social Security number for my child under age 12?

To apply for a Social Security number for a child under age 12, the following steps are required;

1.) Download, complete, and sign the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF – 207KB). All questions must be answered and legible. Please type or print the answers.

Applicants applying for Social Security cards must schedule an appointment HERE at either Embassy Jerusalem or at Embassy Tel Aviv Branch office.

Proof of Your Age (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. birth certificate. If you do not have the U.S. birth certificate, complete Form SSA- L706(PDF – 220KB). It must be signed and submitted, along with the application and other documentation. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record.
  • Foreign birth certificate
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)

Proof of U.S. citizenship (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. birth certificate, or U.S. Passport (unexpired)
  • Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Original Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate

Proof of identity (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. passport, unexpired and signed
  • Original foreign passport, unexpired and signed

Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application, if applicable – a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18; a child can sign the form above age 12. (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • U.S. or foreign passport, unexpired and signed
  • Driver’s License
  • Country or national I.D. Card with a current photo

III. I have lost or misplaced my Social Security Card; do I need to replace the card?

A Social Security Card itself is not needed. Knowing your number is what is important. All employers, financial institutions, educational institutions, the Internal Revenue Service etc. always verify the Social Security number with the Social Security Administration, regardless of whether or not a Social Security Card is presented. In part, the reason for this is the possibility of altered or fraudulent Social Security Cards being presented.

If you need the actual Social Security Card, to obtain a replacement card:

  1. Download, complete, and sign the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS(PDF – 207KB). All questions must be answered and legible. Please type or print the answers.
  2. Provide the following original documents, plus one copy of the documents.

Proof of identity (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original U.S. passport, unexpired and signed
  • Original foreign passport, unexpired and signed

Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application, if applicable – a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18; a child can sign the form above age 12. (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • U.S. or foreign passport, unexpired and signed
  • Driver’s License
  • Country or national I.D. Card with a current photo
  1. I have a Social Security number, but do not remember the number. How can I find out my Social Security number?

You must apply for a replacement card following instructions in III above.

  1. I have married or divorced and need to change my name on my Social Security records, how do I do that?

To change your name on your Social Security records the following steps are required:

1.) Download, complete, and sign the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF – 207KB). All questions must be answered and legible. Please type or print the answers.

2.) Provide the following original documents, plus one copy of the documents.

Proof of the name change (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

If the marriage, divorce certificate, or legal name change document are less than 2 years old and contains biographical data such as date of birth or age of applicant, submit the original document.

If the marriage, divorce certificate, or legal name change document is over 2 years old or does not contain biographical data such as a date of birth or age, you must also submit proof of identity in your OLD name. If you have no identification in your old name, you must write a statement as to why you do not have such proof of identity and submit proof of identity in your NEW name.

Proof of identity in old name, as required (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • Original current or expired U.S. passport, must be signed
  • Original Driver’s License
  • Original current or expired U.S. military identification
  • Proof of identity in new name, as required

Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application, if applicable – a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18; a child can sign the form above age 12. (provide ONE of the following original plus a copy)

  • U.S. or foreign passport, unexpired and signed
  • Driver’s License
  • Country or national I.D. Card with a current photo

You must wait until after the 25th of the month to report non-receipt of paper checks. We cannot take action until this date. If you have direct deposit of your payments, please contact the bank first. Then, contact us if the payment has not reached your bank account by the 10th of the month. When reporting non-receipt, please tell us the date the check was supposed to be paid or deposited. For faster service, submit your inquiry by completing the On Line Inquiry Form

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you did not receive, a payment in the month of February of any year, your payments may have been suspended if we did not receive the Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire returned timely. Checks are stopped in February of every year if we do not receive the questionnaire. Depending on the country you reside, the Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire may be sent every year or every other year. The questionnaires are mailed out in the spring, and a follow-up mailing is sent in the fall.

If you are unable to find your answer, for faster service, send an inquiry to the On Line Inquiry Form

You must provide your new address. Also, tell us what your old address was.
If you reside outside the U.S. for over 3 months, you must change your address to the foreign address.

For faster service, submit an inquiry by completing the On Line Inquiry Form

You must provide a Death Certificate. Request how to send the Death Certificate when you send your inquiry to FBU.

Report the death as soon as possible; there may be benefits due to survivors, and this will prevent possible over-payments which must be repaid. Any payments sent the month after the beneficiaries dies must be returned to Social Security. If you do not have a death certificate yet, do not wait to report a death of a beneficiary receiving payments.

If you are moving from the U.S. to an overseas location, you must complete and sign form SSA-21, which you can download at this link (PDF-756KB).
When you send your inquiry, request information on how to provide the form SSA-21 (PDF-75KB) to the FBU.

Information for representative payees and their obligations can be found at this website.

If you are unable to find your answer, for faster service, submit an at the On Line Inquiry Form

Follow the link to request the Form SSA-1099/1042S. You will receive the 1099/1042S by mail at the address you have registered with the Social Security Administration.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This service is available during the following hours:

  • Monday through Friday: 12 noon to 8 the next morning (5am EST)
  • Saturday: 12 noon to 6 the next morning
  • Sunday: 12 noon to 5 the next morning
  • Holidays: 12 noon to 6 the next morning

The online request through My Social Security is not available for addresses outside the U.S. You may use your Cost of Living letter sent in December of each year in most situations.

To request a proof of income letter, for faster service, submit the On Line Inquiry Form and will contact you ASAP.

To terminate Medicare Part B, please mail a signed statement with requesting to terminate Medicare Part B, include your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, Sign and Date the statement and mail to:

U.S. Embassy Jerusalem
Attn: Federal Benefits Unit
P O Box 290
Jerusalem 9100201

Medicare Part B will be terminated effective with the month after the month we receive your signed statement.

If you previously terminated Medicare Part B and now wish to enroll, please visit this website for the enrollment months available to you; generally you can enroll in Medicare Part B January to March of each year and Medicare Part B would begin July 1st of that year. You can request a form 40B by submitting your inquiry by completing the On Line Inquiry Form

If you have not applied for Social Security payments but want to apply for Medicare only, we encourage you to file online for Social Security retirement, spouse, Medicare Only, or disability on the internet at this website or by clicking here.

It is secure, fast, and easy. Once you submit the application online, print the receipt, and wait. We will contact you in about 6-8 weeks to review your claim, to take applications for other eligible family members, and to request needed documents.

The online hours of operation are:

  • Monday to Saturday: 12 noon (5am EST)
  • Sunday: 3 PM (8am EST)

Visit the Health Insurance Marketplace or call 1-800-318-2596 to get more information. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call TTY 1-855-889-4325. Please note, Medicare is not part of the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you do not have to replace your Medicare coverage with Marketplace coverage.

Information on health insurance is available on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The Marketplace Call Center is available 24 hours every day of the year, even including some Federal holidays at 1-800-318-2596.

English and Spanish-speaking customer service representatives at the Marketplace Call Center are available to assist callers.

The Marketplace Call Center can assist callers in more than 150 languages through an interpretation and translation service.

Hearing impaired individuals can contact the Marketplace at TTY/TDD 1-855-889-4325.

The Windfall Elimination Provision is a Social Security law that applies to beneficiaries who are receiving full benefits from different pension agencies i.e. a pension from a foreign country (Israel, Egypt, Jordan…etc.) and a pension from the Social Security Administration. As a result, your Social Security Pension will be reduced by a certain percentage; depending on the amount of “years of substantial earnings”, you have contributed towards Social Security.

For more information concerning the Windfall Elimination Provisions, please see this website.

Complete Form SSA-7050-F4 and mail along with fees to Social Security.

The form, instructions and updated fees are located at this website. The completed form must be mailed to Social Security Administration Division of Earnings Record Operations P.O. Box 33003 Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3003. The Division of Earnings Record Operations is the only component authority that is authorized to complete this information. Allow up to four to six months to receive a response.

Obtain your Social Security Statement online at this website if you have a US, APO, DPO, or FPO address. The My Social Security system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for establishing an account. The system does not support foreign addresses.

If you are unable to establish an online account, you can receive the Social Security Statement by completing SSA-7004 (PDF – 667KB). The completed form must be mailed to:

Social Security Administration
Wilkes Barre Data Operations Center
P.O. Box 7004
Wilkes Barre, PA 18767-7004

Please allow up to four months to receive a response to the written request for a Social Security Statement.

Visit this site to estimate your future benefits (planning calculators).

Use this estimator tool.

The online hours of operation are:

  • Monday to Saturday: 12 noon (5am EST)
  • Sunday: 3 PM (8am EST)

Visit the Social Security Administration website.

If you are unable to find your answer, for faster service, submit your inquiry by completing the On Line Inquiry Form

The Federal Benefits Unit handles Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) survivor claims, educational benefits, compensation and pension examinations, etc.

The Department of Veterans Affairs website offers the Federal Benefits Manual for Veterans and Dependents (2008), details of benefits available, and downloadable benefits forms.

Veterans Affairs Administration
1000 Liberty Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Fax: +1-412-395-6057
Contact Veterans Affairs

If you are unable to find your answer, submit your inquiry by completing the On Line Inquiry Form

The Office of Personnel Management website offers information for federal employee benefits such as retirement programs, thrift plans, and health insurance.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
Post Office Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017
Telephone: +1-888-767-6738
Email: retire@opm.gov

If you are unable to find your answer, submit your inquiry by completing the On Line Inquiry Form

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) administers comprehensive retirement-survivor and unemployment-sickness benefit programs for the nation’s railroad workers and their families. The RRB also administers certain Social Security benefit payments and railroad workers’ Medicare coverage.

Railroad Retirement Board
844 North Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611-1275
Telephone: +1-877-772-5772 // +1-312-751-4300
Email: chicago@rrb.gov

If you are unable to find your answer, submit your inquiry by completing the On Line Inquiry Form

The Department of Labor website offers information on benefits programs such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and workers’ compensation programs (Black Lung Benefits Act, Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, etc.).

If you are unable to find your answer, submit your inquiry by completing the On Line Inquiry Form

How Do I Obtain SSI (Social Security Supplemental Security Income) while I am living in Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza?

SSI is not payable outside of the United States.