Americans Helping Americans Abroad

Some preparation before you start may lead to success.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a service for people to create an online account for activities such as checking an application and estimating future benefits on their website at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. However, many Americans living overseas have been unable to create their online Social Security accounts because one of the requirements is to have a U.S. mailing address. Now there may be a way to set up an online account.

Alternate U.S. Mailing Address

Various SSA personnel, including those from the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU), say the U.S. address is not part of the verification process but is the place to which SSA sends the confirmation of the information that one has inputted online and an activation code to finish setting up the account. They say that one can use the U.S. address of a family member, or other person you trust, who can then relay the activation code to you received from SSA in the mail.

You should set up your alternate mailing address with a relative or friend in advance, so that you can enter this information when you first make your online application.

Alternate Identity Verification

Another common problem encountered with online SSA applications is that an applicant's identity is usually verified by a subcontractor credit reporting company, Equifax, using information held by them about you. If you do not have a credit history in the US, you will be unknown to Equifax, and the application will be blocked.

As an alternate identification process, SSA is trying ID.me, an American online identity network used, for example, to verify status as a veteran. While still not in final release, you should find a link to ID.me on: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

First registering with ID.me will provide an identification verification that meets US government standards and should allow completion of a Social Security online account application, either already in process or in the near future. Remember you may still have to provide a U.S. mailing address, so make these arrangements in advance.

You should not have trouble getting to https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ from an overseas location but if you do you can try using a virtual private network (VPN) app.

Several AARO members have reported success using these steps. We hope that this works for you so that you can access your social security information from overseas. Please let us know if you succeed or encounter problems with this procedure.