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Federal Benefits

Federal Benefits and Social Security Numbers

The Social Security Administration (SSA) deals with claims for retirement, disability and survivor benefits, Social Security number applications, all post-entitlement activities affecting beneficiaries under the various programs, changes of address, issues involving direct deposit of SSA checks, non-receipt of check allegations, and death terminations.

U.S. Embassy Tripoli is NOT a Federal Benefits Claims-Taking post. All inquiries/applications regarding eligibility or entitlement to U.S. Federal Benefits will be forwarded to the Regional Federal Benefits Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy. If you would like information on how to apply for social security retirement benefits, or for instructions on how to replace, correct, or change your name on your Social Security Card, please go to the Social Security Administration website.

The U.S. Consular Section can assist Americans Citizens resident in Libya who want to apply for first time Social Security Numbers and Cards. However, due to local mailing obstacles, we strongly recommend that applicants wait until they reach the United States to apply or they may apply overseas if they have a reliable address outside of Libya that they feel comfortable sending important documents to (use of the Embassy mailing address is not permitted). Additionally, as the cards are printed only in the United States, issuing times for overseas applications can be substantially longer than domestic applications.

To apply for a Social Security number, you must complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5-FS found here and provide us with required documentation proving your eligibility (U.S. birth certificate or CRBA) and your identity (U.S. passport).  The SS-5 FS explains what evidence you will need to submit. Additionally, if you have never gone to school in the U.S., we will need to see originals of your Libyan school records, vaccine records and proof of address in Libya (bills, company correspondence, anything official that shows where you receive correspondence). Basically the Social Security Administration wants to see documents that prove where you were and that you haven't applied before.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency.  We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. All documents should be officially translated into English.

First time applicants age 12 or older also must apply in person. You can schedule an appointment for this service at our online appointment system.

We can copy and certify your records so that you do not have to send original documents through the mail. After intake of the documents and a mandatory interview for applicants age 12 or older, we will send the package to the Rome Federal Benefits Unit. The Rome Federal Benefits Unit will then send the package to the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, Maryland. Please note: Once we have sent the package to Rome, we will not be able to give you a status report on your application. The Social Security Administration will mail your number and card as soon as they have verified your documents with the issuing entity.

For more information about services outside the United States, see

You may also go directly to the Social Security Handbook, which gives general information about Social Security Programs. The website also has a list of all publications and a list of all downloadable forms.