Can I Receive Social Security Payments While Living Outside the USA?

By October 19, 2020 November 11th, 2020 No Comments

If you’re retiring to a different country, you might be wondering what your rights are to receive Social Security and other benefits as a U.S. citizen living abroad. Generally speaking, you can rest assured that as long as you’ve filed the right paperwork, you will receive benefits while abroad (with a few exceptions).  You cannot receive SSI benefits if you are living abroad.

Countries Where You Cannot Receive Social Security Payments

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), only certain exceptions will allow you to receive benefits in these countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Qualifying for this exception requires additional support from your local Federal Benefits Unit office. The U.S. Department of the Treasury prohibits making payments to persons residing in Cuba or North Korea. 

Conditions for Continuing Payment

If you are a U.S. citizen and are living outside the country for more than 30 days in a row, eligible for monthly benefits, and are living in one of a select list of countries from the link above, then you can receive continuing payments. Former U.S. citizens living in a select list of countries can receive their benefits, too, as long as additional select requirements are met. 

Additional Residency Requirements for Dependents and Survivors

If you’re receiving benefits as a dependent or survivor and you are now living abroad, there are more guidelines to meet as the SSA has additional requirements for those who fall into this specific category. Again, the linked publication above outlines those in more detail. 

Continuing Reporting

As you receive benefits, you are required to report regularly from a list of 13 life changes that includes work outside the U.S., marriage, death, and more. These are mandated in an attempt to prevent fraud and keep records as current as possible. 


If you or a loved one is working through an international Social Security claim, you may find it helpful to enlist the help of a qualified Social Security claims attorney who understands the intricacies of the process. The team at Drew L. Johnson, P.C. is here to help. Call us today at (541) 434-6466 to schedule a free consultation.

Drew L. Johnson

Drew L. Johnson

Drew L. Johnson has been fighting for the rights of Lane County Social Security Disability claimants for more than 40 years. Learn More