US Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) in Manila

Without a doubt the worse run US govt agency must be the Social Security Administration, at least that I have encountered. I am very happy that I am not qualified for SS now or forever. However my wife is on SS.

When my wife retired and started receiving SS benefits she flew back to Taiwan and I stayed behind for a month taking care of loose ends. I made several trips to the local SS office plus wife called from Taiwan a couple of times as somehow her SS check could not be deposited in her Taiwan account and nobody at SS had any idea why. After a couple of months of this she learned that HSBC was the only bank in Taiwan that could receive her SS check via direct deposit. She went to a local HSBC opened an account and HSBC did the rest and had all her SS money in her account in 24 hours. HSBC did in 1 day what none of the SS employees could do in several months.

Fast forward to 2021. She was notified that having her SS check deposited into a dollar account here in Taiwan was no longer allowed and she would need to redo her direct deposit into a local currency account. No problem she sent off the proper form to FBU Manila the end of Dec and arrived at FBU Manila and signed for on Jan 13. After hearing nothing and receive no SS payments she contacted them on March 5 and on March 15 they claimed it had not be received and to send the proper form in via email. Immediately sent it off on March 16 and on the March 22 sent documented evidence that the proper form arrived there on Jan 13. No further communication has been received from FBU Manila since March 15.

No payments have yet been received this year and FBU Manila doesn’t seem the least bit interested in taking care of the problem.

Government working for the people.

I’m not aware of any Taiwan bank that is willing to accept direct deposits from the U.S. government for U.S. citizens now that HSBC has discontinued its service. It is possible to convince a bank to provide direct deposit service from US sources if you have a good relationship with someone at the bank but a bank officer has to sign a form agreeing to do so and that signed form has to be sent to the FBU in Manila. Good luck convincing any risk averse Taiwan bank officer to sign such a form though.

The best way currently to manage regular direct deposits from any U.S. source including SS is to open a Citibank US account and a Citibank Taiwan multi currency account. Have your direct deposit deposited to your CitibankUS account. Then link the two accounts. This allows you to transfer US dollars to your Citibank Taiwan account online free of charge. Takes about five minutes.

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