Social Security has you covered, even outside our nationâ€™s borders. Theyâ€™re with you through lifeâ€™s journey, even if youâ€™re traveling outside the United States.
Many people who travel or live outside the country receive some kind of Social Security benefit, including retired and disabled workers, as well as spouses, widows, widowers, and children.
If youâ€™re a U.S. citizen, you may receive your Social Security payments outside the U.S. as long as you are eligible. When Social Security says you are â€œoutside the United States,â€ that means youâ€™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 youâ€™ve been outside the United States for at least 30 days in a row, Social Security considers you to be outside the country. Whether youâ€™re off to Europe, or considering a stay in our newly reopened neighbor, Cuba, you may be able to receive your Social Security benefits even while youâ€™re outside the United States. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you cannot receive benefits if youâ€™re outside of the United States for a month or more.
If youâ€™re traveling outside the U.S. for an extended amount of time, itâ€™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.
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 survivorâ€™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, Social Security sends you a questionnaire periodically. Your answers will help figure out if you still are eligible for benefits.
Return the questionnaire to the office that sent it as soon as possible. If you donâ€™t, your payments will stop. In addition to responding to the questionnaire, notify Social Security promptly about changes that could affect your payments.
You can also read the publication titled â€œYour Payments While You Are Outside the United Statesâ€ at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Securing today and tomorrow is Social Securityâ€™s priority, no matter where you might be living.
Kirk Larson, who wrote this article, is a Social Security public affairs specialist for western Washington.