General, Retirement, SSI

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

August 8, 2016 • By

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

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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Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications

Comments

  1. ROSELYN M.

    I cannot get into my account with my new email. How do I update my email?

  2. Mara L.

    My Mother resides in Canada, She needs a letter to be able to receive a refund from the Canadian Government
    where she pays taxes. In the past, she has been able to call and speak to someone. This year your phone system
    will not accept her call. How do we contact you? My mother is in her 90’s and is not computer Literate. I have Power of Attorney but I understand you will not talk to me. So how do we get the information needed?.
    Mahalo,
    Mara L. Lockwood
    maralockwood@hawaii.rr.com
    (808) 281-6460

  3. Malika o.

    Hi
    If i I went to Morocco for one year (I’m from Morocco) BTW. (American citizen)
    What is going to happen to my social security and my SSI .?
    I really want to know.
    Thank you.

  4. Kermit P.

    I have been trying to report my wife has died and she was and still is receiving SS benefit based on my working in the US I am in Canada and as such don’t have a us address so I can’t sign up for an account and the phone numbers are not usable. I have left messages at 410-965-8064. but there doesn’t seem to be anyone there and I don’t know if the messages are getting through so what do I do she passed away Nov.23,2019

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Kermit. We are sorry to hear about your loss. Since you are living outside of the U.S. you can contact your local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  5. Renee H.

    I’m 68 years old I want too experience a country that doesn’t judge you by your color sorry I think America is a great country but also whites are very privilegedI am American I don’t Want to be addressed as African-American I’m American my dad served in the U.S. Navy back in the 1940s he was captain of his basketball team I ask him what His experience was back then in the 40s my dad is always been an outgoing hero he lived a great life in Long Island New York bought a house in Massapequa And own his boat that Slept six with a head as a child I experience a great beach life in this
    Horrible prejudiced of this crazy world we live white
    Still exist it’s disgusting to me omg leaving my Country to experience living Abroad so I can be a human being not judged by the color of my beautiful skin…

  6. valerie g.

    Is it possible to receive spousal benefits when the husband dies in Mexico and the wife is not a green card holder or citizen and resides in Mexico? How does she apply for benefits if she cannot come to the United States?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Valerie. In some cases, we may pay benefits to noncitizens living outside of the United States if they meet certain conditions. We recommend that individuals living outside the United States contact their local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  7. Radha

    I live in Canada and am still a US citizen. I paid into Social Security into my 40s. I’m nearing retirement age to draw social security. I would like to know how I start the process since I cannot create an account on the SS website.

    I’m not yet receiving payments, I simply need to know how to initiate those payments.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Radha. Since you are living outside of the U.S. you can contact your local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  8. John V.

    I am a US citizen now living in Spain I have Lost / Mislaid My Medicare Insurance Card, request a replacement Card

    • Ann C.

      Hi, John. Since you are living outside of the U.S. you can contact your local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  9. Joanne H.

    Hello,
    My husband and I – both US citizens – live in Canada. We both receive Social Security. I have checked the ssa website to find out how we can cancel the voluntary US federal tax withholding so we can eliminate the yearly US tax rebate.
    I cannot find any instructions as to how to do that. Can you help?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Joanne. Since you are living outside of the U.S. you can contact your local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  10. Shelby

    How can I sign on for “my account” i’m in Canada I don’t have a ZIP CODE and there is no country or province for me to choice from.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Shelby. We’re sorry for any inconvenience. You will need a U.S. address to register for a personal my Social Security account. Since you are living outside of the U.S. you can contact your local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

Comments are closed.