Can I Be Denied Benefits Because My Green Card Was Lost In The Mail?

Category: 
Oct 10 2019 - 8:07pm

This is regarding spousal benefit.
On July 2019 my wife applied for retirement benefits at the age of 64 and 6 moths after serving the VA for 21 years. I as the husband with age 65 whose petition for green card was approved on June 20, 2019 applied too for spousal benefit. However, I was told to immediately submit my green card to SSA upon receipt of the same. My green card was sent through the mails and per record from the post office it was delivered and received on July 27 but I did not actually receive the green card. In view of the non receipt of my green card, after a follow up with USCIS, I was told that a replacement of my green card will take 6 to 16 months. In this regard, I was instructed to get an appointment, for the meantime, a stamp on my Philippine passport in place of my green card a permanent residency stamped from October 7, 2019 to September 10, 2020 (September 10, 2020 expiration of my Philippine passport) for travel and employment purposes. We inquired with SSA regarding my spousal benefit and was told that it was suspended pending the submission of my green card ID. When I got the stamped on my passport for permanent residency I was told that I will not get the retroactive spousal benefit beginning from August 2019 because my permanent residency stamped on my passport was October 7, 2019.

My question is my petition for permanent residency was approved on June 20, 2019 per USCIS letter and my green card was delivered on June 27, 2019 but was not received. That is why we got stamped on my passport for my travel and employment purposes while waiting for my replacement green card. Now SSA staff told me upon inquiry after presenting my stamped on date of October 7, 2019 that I cannot get my retroactive spousal benefit applied on July 2019. And my spousal benefit will start on the stamped on date October 7, 2019. Documentary exhibits to prove my claim are:
1. Letter from USCIS dated June 20, 2019 notifying me that my permanent residency was approved meritoriously.
2. Letter from USCIS stating that my green card ID was delivered on June 27, 2019.

Would I be deprived of my spousal benefit beginning July 2019 because the loss of my green card from the mails was not my own fault?

Hi,

I'm sorry, but I can't give you a definite answer to that question. You do have to prove that you're either a citizen of that you've been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residency in order to be paid benefits, but it sounds like your circumstances are rather unique. You may want to consider filing an appeal (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10041.pdf) if Social Security refuses to pay you any of the benefits to which you're entitled. That would at least assure that the determination in your case would be fully reviewed to make sure that Social Security's decision is proper based on the facts of your case.

Best, Jerry