General, Retirement

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

August 8, 2016 • By

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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Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications

Comments

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  1. Veronica Bruce

    To Whom It May Concern:
    I have not received my annual paperwork and I have not received my September 2020 check.

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Veronica, thanks for using our blog. If you did not receive your Social Security or SSI benefit, please contact your bank or financial institution first. They may be able to determine if your direct deposit failed. If you still need to report a late, missing or stolen Social Security payment, call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

      Reply
  2. salih softic and lutvija softic

    my parents inlows living usa on 071/0/2020 and they coming back on 12/30 2020

    Reply
  3. amra softic

    my in-lows salih softic and Lutvija S oftic they living for Bosnia at 10/07/2020 and they coiming back on 30/ 12 /2020

    Reply
  4. maria

    I have worked and lived in the usa.. but purchased a home in Puerto rico .. would like to be snowbirds ..

    Reply
  5. Mehran Jamalj

    I am a u.s citizen who lives outside u.s and am reaching 62 and woyld like to retire at 62 but i was told if i apply from here it might take over a year before efore i can get my benefit here.question is will they pay the back payment if it takes that long?

    Reply

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