Can I Get Social Security Abroad?

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Social security benefits should influence where you retire.

You are nearing retirement.

Where should you live?

You have always loved other cultures.

It is tempting to move abroad when you are no longer working, yes?

According to a recent Investopedia article title “Receiving Social Security Benefits Abroad,” you should not move abroad on a whim.

Social Security benefits could be impacted abroad.
Retiring abroad could stop your Social Security benefits.


Doing so could put your Social Security retirement, disability, or survivor benefits at risk.


For this reason, it is important to do your research.

How can you do this?

You can utilize the interactive Payments Abroad Screening Tool.

This tool, created by the Social Security Administration, can help you determine whether you are eligible to collect benefits outside of the United States.

Different benefits have different rules.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is only available to those living in the United States or one of its protectorates.

These include Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Although you may be unable to receive benefits in another country, withheld benefits will be returned to you once you enter a country where payments are allowed.

Another factor influencing eligibility for receiving benefits abroad is citizenship.

How so?

Citizens of certain countries such as the United Kingdom or Switzerland will allow you to receive benefits, even if you remain outside of the U.S. for an extended period of time.

Citizens of other countries, like Monaco or Lithuania, are only guaranteed their own benefits.

Survivor or dependent benefits may be possible, but these would require you to satisfy additional requirements.

Citizens of other countries may have benefits discontinue, if they have been outside the U.S. for more than six consecutive months.

If you do not qualify for benefits when you are abroad, the payments will end until you return to the U.S. for a full calendar month.

For survivor or dependent benefits, there may be more qualifications.

The Social Security of most Americans will continue in the majority of countries outside of the U.S.

Questionnaires will be sent out by the Social Security Administration periodically to beneficiaries outside the U.S.

They are sent to determine whether you are still eligible for benefits.

It is important to return the questionnaire with a response.

Although it is possible to retire abroad and receive Social Security benefits, it is important to do your research.

Reference: Investopedia (November 15, 2019) “Receiving Social Security Benefits Abroad”

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