Guide for U.S. Social Security in Taiwan

You can apply for your S.S. from Taiwan. I would first browse the SS website and determine if you qualify to retire at age 62. The dates of birth limitations are listed. You can also get an estimate of your benefit amount.
About 6 calendar months before your planned SS benefit start date, contact SS in the U.S. and explain that you are living in Taiwan and plan on remaining. Ask that they transfer your records to the Manila office. When listing your S.S. number in the correspondence, just list the last four numbers (for security reasons) i.e. XXX-XX-1234
About 30 days later, contact the Manila office by email and confirm that they have received your records. Actually, they contacted me first to let me know that they had received them.
I would first browse the SS website and determine if you qualify to retire at age 62. The dates of birth limitations are listed. You can also get an estimate of your benefit amount.
Four calendar months prior to your birth date, including the month of birth, submit your application to the Manila office using their online application form which is very easy to use.
About 3 weeks later, you will get an email from the Manila office setting a telephone interview. They ask basic questions to identify you. The application information is then sent back to the U.S. for confirmation of eligibility and approval. Any other questions that the U.S. may have are then sent back to Manila for further clarification.
After approval, your benefits begin on the first of the month after the month of your birth. That months benefits are payable on the 3rd working day of the following month. For example if you were born on July 3, you would not receive any benefits for the whole of July. The benefits start to accrue August 1 and are payable on Sept 3.
To my knowledge, HSBC is the only U.S. designated receiver bank for S.S. in Taiwan. There are several branches around Taiwan. The account must be opened as a designated S.S. account. For example “Social Security Account of John H. Doe”
HSBC then sends the application on to their affiliates in the U.S., Brooklyn as I recall. The account will be set up and they report the account to S.S. The S.S. benefits are reportedly available by ATM here in Taiwan on the same day of deposit.

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As an update, I went to HSBC today and had some difficulty with sales people trying to have me open a 500,000 minimum deposit. Just tell them that you want a “direct” account that is a U.S. S.S. account. Stick to your guns and you will eventually end up with a manager, instead of a sales peson that will help you. If you go to the Jian She shui (sorry about my spelling) on the south blue line, you can ask for Mark who has learned under the gun of fire, and will be able to help. Just open the account in your name and fill in the SS form listing the “Claim No.” as your ss number followed by an “A”, i.e. 123-45-6789A.
They will open a Visa compatible ATM account that has internet possibilties. Anyway, if you have problems, PM me and maybe I can help.
HSBC will then, reportedly, inform the SS administration of your designated account and ship the funds off to you on the 3 working day of the month, You can trnasfer to a designated account here in Taiwan, with a .17 fee or withdraw at the regular fee or transfer to a Taiwan account at the regular 6 nt fee, as I recall. Check the booklet. It will fill you in.

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What is the $$ difference between starting at 65 vs 62?

I remember my Father opted to wait until 65 to claim benefits from SS. This was a long time ago;I do not know if this difference still applies.

Just a few more years for more me to decide.

Forgot to say - Thanks for your work on getting and posting this info.

As I recall, from years ago, you could opt for “early retirement” at age 60. Regular retirement was at age 62. I may be mistaken about this but it is as I recall my mom telling me about it. Now they have upped the retirement age to 66 and also call the “regular retirement age” - 62 as “early retirement”. Recognizing that it is easy for the government to maximize the retention of funds to the extent possible, I will opt for age 62. If you go to their website, you can find the amount of your benefit at age 62 vs. age 66. It was about 400 U.S. for me and I don’t feel well these days. I will opt to start getting it back now.

OK you old geezers ready to collect. Don’t you have to put something in to collect? I’m 45 and have been abroad on and off for most of my working life. My early working life was for workstudy jobs that did not take sssi deductions.

So, how can us working people here in Taiwan contribute? If we don’t contribute much in our working lives, can we still collect something?

Yes; you can contribute now and receive a retirement. You do it much as any other U.S. citizen but, in this case, you can cut out the middle man. Just send me 10,000 NT every month and I will send you back 5,000 every month. It works the same way and you get a better return. Don’t thank me. I am just pleased to be of service.