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Getting Social Security benefits if you are living outside the U.S.

Most U.S. citizens can get Social Security benefits while visiting or living outside the U.S. Find out if you qualify, how to apply, and who to contact to get help.

Learn if you can collect Social Security benefits while living outside the U.S.

If you earned Social Security benefits, you can visit or live in most foreign countries and still receive payments. Look up the country on the SSA Payments Abroad Screening Tool to be sure you can receive your payments.

Use work credits from another country to qualify for Social Security

If you worked outside the U.S., you may not have enough Social Security credits to qualify for Social Security retirement or disability benefits. But you may be able to count your work credits from another country.

See if the country you have worked in has a retirement benefit agreement with the United States.

Apply for and manage your Social Security benefits from outside the U.S.

If you live outside the U.S., you can apply for Social Security benefits online.

SSA pays Social Security benefits electronically through direct deposit. You can set up direct deposit through a financial institution in the U.S. or any country which has an international direct deposit agreement with the U.S. Get a list of countries and territories that allow direct deposit payments.

Once you begin receiving Social Security benefits abroad, SSA will send you a questionnaire every 1 to 2 years. This questionnaire will determine if you are still eligible for benefits. If you do not respond, SSA may stop your benefit payments. Learn more about these questionnaires on page 21 of SSA’s publication Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States [PDF, 317KB].

Get help with your Social Security benefits while you are outside the U.S.

For help with your application or benefits you are currently receiving, contact the Social Security Administration’s Office of Earnings International Operations (OEIO).

LAST UPDATED: June 27, 2024


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