My mom’s visiting, and she told me something today that really surprised me that I’d never heard before.
My dad died in 1999 at the age of 93. He was an American citizen his whole life. He was briefly in the military (Lt in the Navy, honorably discharged) and he worked almost exclusively for the US Govt (primarily the State Dept.) for his entire professional life–40 or so years.
And he was not eligible for Social Security.
He never received a single SS check. He never received a statement or annual balance the way I do, for example. And when he died and my Mom went to report it to the SS Administration, they claimed that he was not “in the system”.
How can this be possible? Even if the US Govt didn’t withhold SS from his paycheck, isn’t any US citizen eligible for something after 65? He worked out of the country for almost his entire life, but he never changed citizenship and he was a US resident from 1972 on.
SS was first implemented in August 1935, when he was 29. Might this have something to do with it? May he not been part of some initial enrollment that meant he was never “in the system”? Why would SS claim he wasn’t in their beneficiary system? He did have a SS number.
He was born in AZ in 1906, six years before it became a state of the union (1912). Is there a remote possibility this might have represented a weird glitch in his eligibility?
My mom says that a colleague of his (same profession, employer, and similar professional history) who was also a neighbor also never collected SS because he wasn’t “eligible”, so she took it on faith that they weren’t an isolated incident and there was something about my Dad’s job or circumstances that kept him out of SS benefits.
I’ll try to answer any follow-up questions you might have, but I find the whole thing thoroughly bizarre. Can any Dopers shed some light on the In’s & Out’s of the SS system that might clarify this?