Social Security Benefits U.S. Citizens Outside the United States

Benefits-outside-the-USOver half a million people who live outside the United States receive some kind of Social Security benefit, including retired and disabled workers, as well as spouses, widows, widowers, and children.

If you’re a U.S. citizen, you may receive your Social Security payments outside the United States as long as you are eligible. When we say you are “outside the United States,” we mean you’re not in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa. Once you’ve been outside the United States for at least 30 days in a row, we consider you to be outside the country.

If you are traveling outside the U.S. for an extended amount of time, it’s important that you tell Social Security the date you plan to leave and the date you plan to come back, no matter how long you expect your travel to last. Then we can let you know whether your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be affected.

You can use this online tool to find out if you can continue to receive your Social Security benefits if you are outside the United States or are planning to go outside the United States at www.socialsecurity.gov/international/payments_outsideUS.html.

This tool will help you find out if your retirement, disability, or survivor’s payments will continue as long as you are eligible, stop after six consecutive calendar months, or if certain country specific restrictions apply.

When you live outside the United States, periodically we’ll send you a questionnaire. Your answers will help us figure out if you still are eligible for benefits. Return the questionnaire to the office that sent it as soon as possible. If you don’t, your payments will stop. In addition to responding to the questionnaire, notify us promptly about changes that could affect your payments.

You can also read the publication titled Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Social Security is with you through life’s journey, even if that journey takes you outside the United States.

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708 thoughts on “Social Security Benefits U.S. Citizens Outside the United States

  1. I have not yet received my questionnaire for 2020. By this time in previous years, I have already received it and returned it. Where is it?

  2. Sir/Madam: We are a Seattle-based non-profit service organization assisting elderly retirees who have gone back to the Philippines to live there. One retiree lady client NORMA Y. RONDEAU – BNC#20S1167E89255 AI
    is requesting SSA to please stop deducting $147+ Medicare fee from her monthly SSI because she is now living away from the U.S. permanently. She has lived in Manila in the last 6 months. Please advise us or her at her former U.S. address or directly with us about how she can finalize this request. Deductions are done unfairly (she says) monthly from her meager $330+ monthly SSI benefit. Please help.
    Her partner’s address in U.S. where letters are sent:
    21045 SE 261st St., Maple Valley, WA 98038
    Our agency name & address:
    International Drop-In Center (IDIC)
    7301 Beacon Ave. So., Seattle,. WA 98108
    Thank you for your kind attention.

  3. If I leave the country at 53, can I begin claiming benefits at retirement age?

    I married a kind Filipina and we are looking to save up money and move there in 10 years. I would attempt to retire early (63). Is this possible?

  4. Buenos dias, Soy Fernando Concha, ciudadano norteamericano. He vivido toda mi vida fuera de USA, especificamente en Chile. Cuento con Pasaporte vigente. Quiero abrir una cuenta corriente en el Bank of America pero me piden el Social Security number, pero yo nunca he sacado el Social Security. Puedo yo obtener el social security y cómo debo hacerlo?

  5. Hello:
    I am a resident Alien 67 y old and qualify for full benefits.
    I plan to wait until I am 70 y old to apply for benefits.

    However, I am moving back to France may be next year.
    Can I apply from France ?

    • Hi Patrice, thanks for using our blog. At this time you must have a U. S. mailing address to create or access a my Social Security account. The “my Social Security” authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address yet.

      Even if you are unable to create a my Social Security account, you may still file your application online. You can apply online for retirement benefits if you:
      •are at least 61 years and 9 months old;
      •are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record;
      •have not already applied for retirement benefits; and
      •want your benefits to start no more than 4 months in the future. (We cannot process your application if you apply for benefits more than 4 months in advance.)

      Our publication, “Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States”, explains how being outside the United States may affect your Social Security payments.

      You may use our Payments Abroad Screening Tool to see if your 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!

  6. I am a retired US Marine. I permanently reside in Japan. I turn 65 years old this month, Aug. 2020, I was informed recently that i need to apply for Medicare Part A and be eliguble for Part B in order to have my military retired ID card renewed.
    As I do not have a US home address as requiredon the SSA.gov website, I am requesting guidance on how to open a My Social Security account in order to apply for Medicare.
    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    • Hi Kenneth, thank you for your question. At this time you must have a U. S. mailing address to create or access your online account. The “my Social Security” authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address yet.

      Even though you are unable to create a my Social Security account, you may still file your application online. If you are within three months of age 65 or older and not ready to start your monthly Social Security benefits yet, you can use our online retirement application to sign up just for Medicare and wait to apply for your retirement or spouses benefits later.

      We recommend that individuals living outside the United States contact the nearest Federal Benefit Unit in the area for any assistance related to Social Security programs and benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad.

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