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

October 20, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 1 Minute

Last Updated: October 20, 2016

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

Did you find this Information helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!


See Comments

About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. hebatbet

  2. Suzanne

    Scenario: Person takes early retirement at age 62yo, then files for SS Disbility. SS Disability is awarded with an onset date of DOB 64yo.

    Question: At full retirement age will the retirement benefits be offset due to the prior early retirement benefits?

    • Ray F.

      Hi Suzanne. Any “offset” or reduction will occur at the time disability benefits are established. Disability payments are established at the highest rate possible, meaning the individual will get the highest monthly benefit amount he or she is allowed to receive. When individuals attain their full retirement age, we will automatically convert their disability benefits to retirement benefits, the benefit amount remains the same. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  3. Jessy

    I am retired since June 2013 after the death of my husband, and moved to India to be with my family. I was emotionally very disturb then. I am 62 years now, still live in India with the help of my family. I wish to take my SS benefit at 65. In US, I use my daughters address for any correspondence as I cannot afford.
    Please guide me as to what should I do to get SS benefit at age 65. I am eligible for SS and Medicare.

    • Jessy

      I have another question, can I claim my SS benefit and still live in India? Do I have to apply for Medicare B plan? How much do they take as premium, if enrolled.

      At 62 if I take SS , it’s 25% less. Will it go up like 93% at age 65?

      Do you need overseas address or US address for correspond.

      • Ray F.

        Hi Jessy. Yes, retirees who are U.S. citizens are entitled to continue receiving benefits for as long as they live outside the United States. However, citizens of other countries who receive Social Security may have some restrictions. The earliest age you can apply for reduced retirement benefits is 62. If a person begins to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all benefits an individual may qualify for once they opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to their full retirement age. Please keep in mind that while Social Security benefits are available to retirees in other countries, Medicare is not. Beneficiaries can only take advantage of Medicare Part B within the United States. All beneficiaries who elect to enroll in Medicare Part B must pay a premium, regardless of where they live. For any assistance related to your Social Security benefits, please contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this information helps.

  4. Donald S.

    I retired in 2013 from the federal government with plenty of SSA credits then eventually moving to the Philippines in 2014.

    SSA has an outstanding overseas department processing/handling American citizens applications and answers any question related to marriage and/or having children. Moreover there’s a local SSA office here that makes life so much easier when it pertains to issues concerning SSA.

    I’m very happy with the service I’ve received thus far from SSA. Monthly benefits right on time.

    Thank you SSA for the excellent service for Americans living abroad.

    • Ann C.

      Thanks for your feedback, Donald. Your thoughts are important to us and we’re pleased when feedback is positive. We try hard to provide the best possible service to our customers and your satisfaction is our reward.

  5. Victoria R.

    My husband and I are retired and thinking of moving out of the state of California to another state. We both are collecting social security after working over 30 years in California. Will we be able to transfer or receive social security benefits in another state and will there be a reduction in benefit amount?


    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Victoria. Your Social Security retirement benefit is a federal administered program and is transferable to other states. Your benefit amount will not change if you move to another state. You can create a my Social Security account to manage your benefits and to change your address and direct deposit information online. we hope this helps!

  6. Tito J.

    What can I buy with the $4.78 extra COLA raise I will get beginning in 2017? What a joke on us or is it an April Fools Joke?

    • Bonnie

      1 gallon of milk or a dozen eggs in California. sad state of affairs with all the increases in rent, food, property tax, etc. it leaves one wondering how they can spend all the money on people that never worked or contributed to our society but not the people that worked so hard to build our country and we never complained when it was put there for all Americans, I said Americans!!!!!!

  7. Guillermo

    I am receiving my pension from SSA in South America Lima Peru, SSA send me the money trough the BANK OF NEW YOR MELLON , that bank send the money to INTERBANK (PERUVIAN BANK) they have an agreement and the peruvian bank charge me $ 6 but since October 2016, the charge is $ 10, They say that this is an agreement between both banks, is this true? How can receive my pension with less charge? my pension is very low and every dollar counts. There is another way to avoid those charges living overseas?

  8. Guillermo

    I retired when i was 62 years old, I want to know what will it happen if i get disable living overseas, can i apply for disability or since i am receiving my regular pension from SSA i will not be able to apply for disability?

    • Ray F.

      Hi Guillermo. You can apply for Disability Benefits before you reach your full retirement age. Social Security pays only for total disability. We pay disability benefits to people under their full retirement age who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or end in death. We can continue paying your retirement benefits while we consider your application for disability, and wait for a medical decision. For assistance related to your Social Security benefits, while living abroad, please contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate.

  9. Guillermo

    I retired when i was 62 years old (early retirement age), I received 25 % less that i was suppossed to receive, I am 64 years old know , I want to know if my pension will increase by 25 % when i am 66 years old(full retirement age) or it will remain the same and it will only increase with the cola?

    • Ray F.

      Hello Guillermo. The amount of benefits you receive is established at the time you applied for retirement benefits. It is based on the amount of your average lifetime earnings and your age at the time you applied. Reduction factors are permanently applied to all benefits an individual may qualify for, once they opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to their full retirement age. Your benefit amount will likely remain the same, except for yearly Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA) increases.

  10. Foster

    Thank you for another informative site. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such a perfect method? I’ve a mission that I am simply now running on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such information.

Comments are closed.