About 100 expats and other recipients of U.S. Social Security benefits here have contacted U.S. Embassy officials to prevent a halt in their payments.
An embassy spokesman said Friday that there still are about 300 persons with Costa Rican addresses who have not responded to a Social Security Administration questionnaire. Without a response the government will stop payments.
The system is in place for, among other reasons, to determine when a recipient dies.
The spokesman said that the anti-fraud measure saved taxpayers about $20,000 a month in 2013.
“Of the 428 who didn’t respond to the questionnaire last year, we ultimately heard from 403,” said the spokesman. “So the SSA was able to stop payments in 25 cases, saving over 200,000 dollars this year.”
This year, the Social Security Administration sent questionnaires to recipients whose social security number ended in 50 to 99, as well as beneficiaries who have representative payees, that is persons receiving benefits on behalf of a minor or disabled person, said the embassy. These selected beneficiaries received the form with an envelope to the Social Security facility in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
In October, the agency mailed a follow-up notice to those who did not respond to the original questionnaire sent in July.
“If you received the questionnaire, please return it to the address on the envelope SSA provided – or bring it to the US Embassy for mailing to the U.S.,” said the embassy.