General, Retirement, SSI

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

August 8, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

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

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

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

Tags: , , ,

See Comments

About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Mike

    Since there’s no way we can contact your Wilkes Barre, PA office, maybe you can do that for us retirees living abroad regarding the annual questionnaire Form 7162. Receiving and sending the form back have always been such a struggle even before COVID-19 crisis, which is now even more so foreign mail offices not operating regularly. Will your Wilkes Barre, PA office still be sending us the aforementioned form this year? Or do they have an alternative way for us to fulfill the annual requirement? I hope you can put an extra effort to help us get an answer. Thank you.

  2. Perry B.

    Will my Social Security benefits change when my husband dies?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Perry, thanks for using our blog. If your husband worked long enough under Social Security, there may be benefits payable to survivors. You may be eligible for reduced widows benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled) and at any age if caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled and receiving benefits on the deceased’s record. Survivor benefit amounts are based on your husband’s earnings. The more he paid into Social Security, the higher the benefits would be. The benefits will not be established automatically, you will have to contact us. For additional information, visit our Survivors Planner.

  3. Melanie

    When will i recivr my chefk im on ssdi and nothing
    *** – ** – *** everyone around me has gotten theres but me

    Juky 25 th

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Melanie. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is part of the U.S. Treasury, will be making Economic Income Payments. Please visit the Internal Revenue Service’s website here for all your Economic Income Payment-related questions. If you are unable to find the answer, call the IRS hotline at 1-800-919-9835. We hope this helps.

  4. Guadalupe G.

    Soy residente mexicana vivo en Mexicali Baja California y recibo beneficios del seguro social pero ahora con esta pandemia no se puede pasar a Estados Unidos y yo me tengo que reportar cada mes que procede en esta situacion

  5. Gloria B.

    Hello Sir/Madam,
    Good morning, I’m residing in the Philippines and on SSS pension and waiting for a stimulus fund I hope that will go to my direct deposit account thank you so much and God Bless America.

    • Howard J.

      You live in the Philippines and feel entitled to a stimulus check from the USA? Ridiculous.

  6. michael s.

    hi, I’m American residing in the Philippines and on ssdi.. I’m told that we are to receive a stimulus payment. is this true? and any idea if will be direct deposit or by paper check, and when?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Michael, thank you for your question. Please visit the IRS Economic Impact Payments Information Center to answer your questions about eligibility, payment amounts, what to expect, when to expect it and more. Hope this helps!

    • Geoff

      You will get it in the same way as your SSDI payment is made.

  7. aviva d.

    I am a divorced woman with 5 children all over the age of 27. 3 of them still live with me. I claimed 4 dependants on my weekly salary so that I get more take home pay. My accountant claimed them on my tax return which messed up my children from getting the stimulus check. Is that correct? No one told my accountant to take 4 dependants, he didn’t even speak with me. He just did it.

    thanks so much and stay safe and healthy,

    • Dan

      I don’t see why you are claiming 4 dependants so that your tax home pay is higher and then not following through with it when your accountant lodges your tax return. In any case, at 27 they are adults and should be making their own income. Are they disabled?

  8. Michael D.

    I am living in Israel and had a baby in June 2019. We applied for a SS card but cannot find it. It was sent to my mothers house in NY. How do I get a copy of the card and it’s number. I am applying for a US Passport and need it.

  9. Geoff

    My American wife has lived permanently in Australia since about 2003. We both lived on my Australian income so she has not been required to file an income tax return with the IRS. She started to receive her social security benefit about three years ago.

    I understand that SS recipients living abroad are entitled to the $1200 economic impact stimulus payment which is being paid by the IRS.

    Will the stimulus payment be automatically paid to the Australian bank account that her monthly SSA payment is currently being paid? In other words, will SSA advise IRS of her address shown on her 1099 for payment either my direct deposit or paper check?

    • Paul

      I also am a US citizen retired in Australia and have been receiving my social security each month and have not received the USA stimulus. Also my Union pension plan which I receive by cheque each month which they say they cannot direct deposit is also not being received as there is no letter delivery between countries and is now 2 months behind. I have been retired for almost 7 years. A double whammy. Good luck.

      • Robert

        Really, you guys decided to live abroad and feel you are entitled to the stimulus check? Incredibly selfish. Why???

        • Paul

          Because I worked for forty years. Also served in the US Army Vietnam. Yes I have a right and I also have a right to be buried in a National Cemetery. Sometimes circumstances beyond your control have to be made and people end up where they would not rather be. You sound very self righteous which usually means you are not. Suck it up.

    • Pam

      Hi Geoff, from what I know, I suspect that yes, it would go to her bank account however it could be a bit of a wait!

      • Geoff

        I’m beginning to suspect that the payment to non-residents will not be paid because it will not stimulate the US economy if the payment is sent to a foreign country.

  10. Sean S.


    I am writing to find out how to contact Social Security via phone call. My mother receives Social Security Benefits and she needs to submit her taxes here in Canada. She usually receives her info from Social Security so she can do her taxes but has not yet received info from Social Security. Can you please help with this request in how she can be sent this info so she can do her taxes.


    Sean Smith

Comments are closed.