Retiring Overseas? What You Need to Know About Getting Benefits Abroad

retire-overseasThere are a number of people who choose to live their retirement years in places outside of the United States. Perhaps retirement in Thailand or Portugal is in your plans. Maybe you plan to split your year between Central Europe and Central Asia. In many cases, it’s still possible to receive your retirement benefits while living abroad. Our website can help you navigate your benefit eligibility while living overseas.

If you’ve worked in both the United States and another country, it may be possible for your credits to combine for a larger benefit. Currently, there are 25 countries with such international agreements with the United States. To find out if you have qualifying work in a country with such an agreement, visit

You can receive benefits in many countries. To find out whether you can receive your benefits in the country where you are retiring, you should use our Payments Abroad Screening Tool at

There are easy ways to get in touch with us and report changes to Social Security if you live overseas. You can contact your local U.S. embassy, write to us by mail, or call us at 1-800-772-1213. You can find other information in regards to living overseas at


188 thoughts on “Retiring Overseas? What You Need to Know About Getting Benefits Abroad

  1. Hi, I am 72, receiving SS benefits and retired overseas. I have been married to a wonderful filipina lady for over seven years now. She is not a US citizen and does not have a SS number. Is she or will she be eligible to receive a survivor benefit if I die?

    • Hi, Pat. Thanks for your question. In certain cases, noncitizens can receive Social Security benefits. But, in order for an individual to receive benefits, we must have evidence of their lawful presence. That means before we can pay out benefits for any given month, we must have evidence that the individual was lawfully present in the United States, during that month. In most cases, we stop payments to noncitizens after they are outside the United States for six calendar months in a row. To learn more, visit here. We hope this helps.

  2. Hello. I’m posting a comment here to ask a question about how applications for Social Security Retirement Benefits are handled for people who are living abroad when they apply. I live in the Philippines and turned 62 in August of 2019. I applied for benefits online using the SSA web site. I received a notice my request had been referred to the SSA office at the US embassy in Manila. A month later I received a phone call from them and was asked to answer many questions while being recorded. At the end of our conversation, the representative told me that benefits take 7 months or longer to get approved and started. I was a little surprised since the web site says up to 6 weeks to start after you apply/become eligible. My bank is a US bank and I do have an FPO address. My question is, why does it take so long for an application to be processed for someone living abroad?

  3. What are requirements for non-USA citizen widow to receive survivor SS benefits? Wife, now 64, just married, but has been caring for U.S. citizen, 78, for five years on retirement visa in Thailand. U.S. citizen husband wheelchair bound, but fully alert and functional, except walking. I receive full benefits due me from 45+ years as wage earner.

  4. Hello, to whom it may concern, I want to live abroad in SE Asia Phillipines, Viet Nam , and Thailand, and am wondering how I can succesfully manage my SS and retirement bennefits from those locations? I will be retiring in a couple of years approxiamately.

    • Hi, Kolam. If you are a U. S. citizen, you may receive your Social Security benefits outside the United States as long as you are eligible, no matter how long you stay outside the United States. However, there are certain countries to which we cannot send payments. For more information about your payments while you are outside of the United States, please visit here. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  5. I am a permanent US resident (green card holder), but an Austrian citizen.
    Regarding the receipt of monthly social security payments upon retirement , Austria and the USA do have an intergovernmental agreement with respect of recognizing and honoring a person’s time he/she worked and payed their contributions in either one of these two countries.
    Now here is the question:
    Where and from which agency in the US, do I get legal, written and signed proof about the times/years I have worked and payed my contributions here in the US, in order to present this very proof soem day for recognition towards my retirment in my home country Austria?
    Perhaps someone can bring some clarity in this foggy subject.
    Thank you in advance!

  6. Hello,

    I am USA citizen on Social Security living out of USA.

    Do I have to fill out my address on specific Social Security form every year & send it to Social Security office in USA?

    Can this address form be filled out online on Social Security website? What is the form no.?

    Please reply urgently.

    Yamini Mehta

    • Hi, Margaret. Under current law, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers Social Security benefits taxable income for beneficiaries whose countable income exceeds certain limits. To learn more about those income thresholds, visit here. For any income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040 or you can visit their website at We hope this helps.

  7. I need an appointment to have my social security benefit statement notarized . I can’t seem to do it on line . Please explain how to do it ?

Leave a Reply - (comment policy)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *