By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On February 25th the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro sent an email to announce a Town Hall Meeting for American citizens at the consulate office, scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 3PM. The meeting will feature information on U.S. federal benefits, and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
According to the announcement, as space is limited, individuals who wish to attend must have sent an email to ACSRio@state.gov no later than Thursday, March 10th (last week). For those who had not heard about it until now, the reason is that they need to sign up for the email announcements, or follow them on social media.
U.S. citizens traveling to and/or residing in Brazil are encouraged to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.gov. By enrolling in STEP, they will receive the latest security updates, and it also makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact individuals in an emergency.
The Town Hall Meeting will be held in the Consulate General at Av. Presidente Wilson, 147, about a two minute walk from the Cinelândia metro station. To ensure access to the Consulate, the ACSRio@state.gov email must include the full name and CPF or ID information of each individual attending.
An RSVP is required to attend and participants must present a government issued photo identification to gain entry into the Consulate. The consulate’s initial email noted that the federal benefits representative will not be answering questions specific to individual cases during the meeting, but is happy to answer general questions about the policies and process.
Michael Royster, a long-standing member of The American Society, Rio de Janeiro (AmSoc Rio), and Opinion writer for The Rio Times, described, “Last time (late 2014 I think) there were some forty people that showed up including me, which is how I learned that Medicare requires you to sign up and pay a monthly fee as from age 65, even if you live abroad and can’t use Medicare unless you’re in the United States.”
Official communications also say that on March 17th-18th, the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro will offer one-on-one appointments with the Regional Federal Benefits Unit officer to discuss U.S. Social Security and other federal benefits. To schedule an appointment send an email to ACSRio@state.gov as soon as possible because space and availability are limited.
These services are offered by the American Citizen Services (ACS) unit at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, at the U.S. consulates in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Recife, and the Consular Agencies in Brazil. The division provides a wide range of services to U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Brazil, find out more on their web page or follow them on Twitter.