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

October 20, 2016 • By

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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

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. Mary L.

    I have a client who is a Legal Permanent Resident from Canada. She is receiving SSDI income; if she moves back to Canada, what would happen to her benefits?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Mary Lou, thanks for your question. If your client does move, they are required to report their change of address to Social Security, even if we are sending their payments to a bank or other financial institution.

      Our publication, “Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States”, explains how being outside the United States may affect Social Security payments.
      When someone isn’t a U.S. citizen, they must meet one of the conditions for payment described in this publication.

      You may want to suggest our Payments Abroad Screening Tool to your client so they can see if their benefits will continue indefinitely, stop after six consecutive months or if certain country specific restrictions apply.

      We also recommend that individuals planning to leave the United States visit our Office of International Operations home page, which provides additional information for our customers living abroad. We hope this information helps!

  2. Jack S.

    Vacationing to UK next month. 82 years old. If I have a medical emergency, will medicare cover medical help in U.K. ?

  3. Jack S.

    Vacationing to U.K. next month. 82 years old.
    If I have a medical emergency, will medicare provide?

  4. Lee

    Should I die, will my wife receive a portion of my social security?

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question, Lee. Widow or Widowers of persons who worked long enough under Social Security are eligible for reduced benefits at age 60 (age 50 if disabled).
      See our Benefits Planner: Survivors | Planning For Your Survivors for more information. Thanks!

  5. Harsh V.

    We live in India n get SS benefits and every yr. in May /June we receive Questionnaire, which we hv to fill up n send back within 60 days. This yr. we hv not recd. the Questionnaire. I called the US embassy in New Delhi. I was told they do not deal with SS benefits any more. I also emailed to Manila office but not recd. any answer. pl guide me who should i contact n how can get the contact email id.

    • Ray F.

      We recommend that individuals living outside the United States contact the nearest Federal Benefits Unit or U.S. Embassy in their area for assistance with Social Security benefits and available services. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. Thanks!

  6. Charles

    Hi. My parents are now living in a foreign country and have decided to retire there. How do they go about changing the address on file with SS to the foreign address without going back to the USA? Could they send in a letter stating the change? Would they have to show up at the nearest SS office?

  7. Carol H.

    To whom it may concern,

    I want to combine my work credits in Italy to my credits in the US. What is the procedure?
    Thank you

  8. Cesar R.

    What about Medicare? I intend to live outside of USA, do I have any benefit even if I live out of the country? My intentions is to live in Dominican Republic. Any idea?

    • Ray F.

      Hello Cesar. In general, Medicare is not available outside the United States.
      Keep in mind that Social Security beneficiaries attaining age 65 are automatically enrolled for Medicare Part A & B. However, because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you do have the option of turning it down. However, the premium for Medicare Part B is increased 10 percent for each full 12 months during which an individual could have been, but was not, enrolled in Medicare Part B. Visit for more information.
      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. Thanks!

  9. Linda N.

    I am trying to complete my online retirement benefits application. I get to a certain point and I get that my session has timed out. Please tell me how to get back into the application and complete. I have a reengry number and have done that but am getting to a page where it tells me I’ve timed whenever I had just complete a page?

    • Ray F.

      We’re sorry for the inconveniences, Linda. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and one of our agents will assist you. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally you will have a shorter wait time when you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks!

  10. Shirley R.

    I need my 2018 Benefit Statement for me . Please mail to me. Thank you. You can also email me at following address:

    • Ray F.

      Hello Shirley. We do not have access to personal information, therefore, we do not do direct messaging in this venue. If you need proof you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security (SSI) Income or Medicare, you can request a benefit verification letter online by using your my Social Security account. Thanks!

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