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Ask Stephanie O Joy, Esq Your Own Question
Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13282
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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My wife just filed social security retirement benefits and

Customer Question

My wife just filed for early social security retirement benefits and because she was born in 1951 overseas when her father was in the military she has a German birth certificate and had dual citizen until she was 18 years old at which time she signed a document to become a full US citizen! She is being told by the SSA that she must provide a certified naturalization document which she doesn't have! She signed this when she was 18th when her father was stationed in Ft Leavenworth, KS. How and where can we obtain this document! Would the State Dept have this? We talked to the USCIS and they told her that she would have to reapply and if in the coarse of that application process they came up with the needed document they would refund he 370 dollar fees! If she now would have to reapply for citizenship would she be able to still qualify to receive her monthly benefit? Or would she lose all the money she paid into SS?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

It is disturbing that our own government does not maintain verifiable documentation of her citizenship. That said, yes, so long as she is legally in this country (and without proof of citizenship, that is the part that will be tricky, so you want to get that), even if she wasn't a US citizen, she can receive any benefits she paid in for. She has a social security number, after all, and proof of paying in. That SS# ***** not change and the moneys she paid are connected to it. But, she does have to resolve the citizenship issue because that will cover the requirement that she is legally present in this country (not an illegal alien). Interestingly, if she were NOT in the US, but abroad, she'd have no requirement of legal status here, since she'd not be here, and she could get her benefits abroad. It is her status here, I believe, that is holding her up at this point. I'd probably consult with an immigration attorney on this, to speed that up if possible.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

I hope this helps! My goal is toprovide you with excellent and accurateservice – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, Iam happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me "excellent"when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, shouldyou have legal questions. Be sure tostart future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" ifyou want me to specifically answer it.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This information didn't really help much as it only backed up what I already had found out by searching on the internet! My number one question was where to we go for the information! She can't be the only person born abroad while a parent was stationed in the military so it's hard to believe that every person needs to hire a attorney to get the proper documentation required by social security! You did answer my question about benefits! Since sending this info to you I found out a little bit more and we think that the D-1350 Certification of Report of Birth that she had received in 2009 for State ID that she needed will work! It was one document that SSA had said would work to finish the retirement process!
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

With regard to your post:

"This information didn't really help much as it only backed up what I already had found out by searching on the internet! ------- Oops! I think you forgot to mention that in your fact, ergo the wasting of time here. No worries, it happens. But, I hope I am not being punished for answering your question accurately. Please be reminded that I do not MAKE the law for you, I can only report it. Her issue is her legal status, not her citizenship. But confirming her US citizenship will eliminate any concern about legal status. And when you were asked what you had already tried, you forgot to mention my information, so it appeared that you were unaware of what the issue was and what you had to accomplish to get relief. If the document is missing, as you suggest, they you need to get that resolved. That is NOT done by the SSA but by Immigration. This is the SS area, so I have provided you with clarification you seemed unaware of, of what SSA needs to get her her benefits. And to get that, you need Immigration, not SSA. Then you go back to SSA when you have successfully fixed the immigration issue. But if you don't want an immigration lawyer when you lose (or she does) her citizenship and naturalization documents, then you need to at least research immigration procedures post 911. AND, as you may recall, you posted a SS concern here in the SS section (my expetrise).

"My number one question was where to we go for the information! ------ Actually, not to beat a dead horse, but in the SS area, in which we sit presently, that was not the only question in that area was if she would qualify for her benefits or lose all she had paid into SS. THAT is the SS question. I am not permitted to answer any tangential immigration questions, and I would urge you to post the immigration questions in that category, since that is where they may be answer.

"She can't be the only person born abroad while a parent was stationed in the military ------- Of course not, but she lost her credentials, so that is where her troubles come in. AND, post 911 has made what used to be a less stringent process, far more arduous.

"so it's hard to believe that every person needs to hire a attorney to get the proper documentation required by social security! ------- Only those that don't pursue the research... Like I indicated, I can help you with the SS issues, but for your immigration issues, you need to pursue that area which isn't here.

"You did answer my question about benefits! ------- Yes. You asked, I answered.

"Since sending this info to you I found out a little bit more and we think that the D-1350 Certification of Report of Birth that she had received in 2009 for State ID that she needed will work! -------- Ah! You left that part out also - didn't even mention she had one! But I am glad you recalled it and inquired. And what is wonderful is that she got it in 2009 - did you know they stopped issuing them shortly thereafter? But pre-existing D-1350s still COUNT to provide proof of citizenship, etc.

Good luck with all, you seem to be on the right track.