Can I Live Overseas and Collect Social Security Benefits?

Americans who travel overseas are generally able to continue receiving their Social Security benefits in the same way they had been here at home, but they do need to keep up with the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) requirements.

First, you are considered living overseas if you are out of the United States or one of its territories for more than 30 days in a row.

Second, the country where you live has a big impact on how or whether you will continue to receive Social Security benefits. Most Western European countries along with Greece, Canada, Israel, Poland, Chile, the Czech Republic, Japan and South Korea fall under the SSA’s “Country List 1.” If you live in one of these countries, you can continue to receive your benefits as long as you are eligible for them.

“Country List 2” covers a range of other countries, including Central and South American ones, Eastern European ones and several in the Pacific. For these countries, you can receive benefits as normal unless your benefits come from your status as a dependent or a survivor. If you receive dependent or survivor benefits, you must meet several requirements. If you are not a US citizen, you must have lived in the US for at least five years, but there are special circumstances that permit some beneficiaries conditions to avoid this residency requirement. A Tulsa OK Social Security Disability lawyer can provide more details on receiving your benefits while overseas.

If you live in another country not mentioned on one of these lists, your Social Security benefits will stop after you have been out of the US for more than six calendar months unless you meet one of the SSA’s exceptions. Exceptions are made if you served in the military or if you are a resident of a country with a special agreement with the US (generally Western European countries).

Finally, there are several countries to which the US will usually never send payments (exceptions are rare) – Cuba, North Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, and most former republics of the Soviet Union (Russia is not included).

Have you lived overseas while collecting Social Security benefits? Did your status pose any problems for the Social Security Administration?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

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