So­cial Se­cu­rity cov­ers you even when you’re not in the coun­try

Record Observer - - News - By CAROLYN NI­CHOLS

So­cial Se­cu­rity has you cov­ered, even out­side our na­tion’s bor­ders. We’re with you through life’s jour­ney, even if you’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 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. Whether you’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 you’re out­side the United States. If you re­ceive Sup­ple­men­tal Se­cu­rity In­come (SSI), you can­not re­ceive ben­e­fits if you’re out­side of the United States for a month or more.

If you’re 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.

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 at­cialse­cu­­ter­na­tional/pay­ments_out­sideUS.html.

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, we send you a ques­tion­naire pe­ri­od­i­cally. 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 at­cialse­cu­

Se­cur­ing to­day and to­mor­row is our pri­or­ity, no mat­ter where you might be liv­ing.

Carolyn Ni­chols is So­cial Se­cu­rity Dis­trict Man­ager in Cambridge.


A happy se­nior cou­ple takes a selfie at Grand Palace tem­ples in Bangkok. They know they can still re­ceive So­cial Se­cu­rity ben­e­fits while abroad.

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