Introducing the Payments Abroad Screening Tool

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Can Your Live Abroad and Still Collect Monthly Social Security Payments?

Summer often brings dreams of living in far-away places.  According to the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you are a  United States citizen, you may receive your Social Security benefits outside the United States as long as you are eligible.

If you are a citizen of North, Central, or South America (except for Paraguay and Suriname) who claims benefits on his or her own work record, you can be paid monthly Social Security benefits without having to make visits to the United States.

If you are a citizen of North, Central, or South America (except for Canada, Chile, Paraguay, and Suriname), who is entitled to benefits as a dependent or survivor of a retired or deceased worker, you can be paid monthly Social Security benefits without having to make visits to the United States if either one of the following applies to you:

  1. You (or a child’s parent) lived in the United States for at least five years while in a family relationship with the worker. (This does not have to be one continuous period of time.)                                                    OR
  2. You were (or could have been) paid benefits for any month before January 1, 1985.

If you do not meet these requirements to receive benefits as a dependent or survivor, you must visit the United States in order to be paid monthly Social Security benefits. If you haven’t been to the United States at any time during the six calendar months before your first month of entitlement, then to get your benefits started you must come to the United States and stay every hour of a full calendar month.

After your dependent or survivor benefits have started, there are two ways to continue to receive benefits:

  1. You must spend any part of one-day in the United States at least once every 30 days or less.                                                       OR
  2. If you do not do one-day visits (or if you fail to make a visit in a 30-day time period), then you must come to the United States and stay every hour of 30 consecutive days.

The SSA cannot send payments to certain countries. For more information, please refer the SSA publication titled, “Your Payments While You are Outside the United States” located at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10137.pdf. If you plan to live outside the United States, find out if you can receive Social Security payments by using the Payments Abroad Screening Tool. (Your privacy is safe with this tool; it does not interface with any personal Social Security records.)

About ksindell

Kathleen Sindell, Ph.D. is the author of numerous academic, popular, and professional finance articles, Web sites, proposals, and books. This includes the bestselling reference book, "Investing Online for Dummies, Eds 1-5" (listed for two consecutive years on the Wall Street Journal's Bestselling Business Book List). Her most recent book "Social Security: Maximize your Benefits" has been listed in Amazon's Top 100 Bestselling Retirement Planning Books. It is important to note that "Social Security: Maximize Your Benefits, 2nd Edition" was just released. Sindell has an in-depth understanding of the financial services industry and has held Series 7, 63, and 65 licenses. Dr. Sindell is regularly tapped as a financial services expert on ABC World News, The Nightly Business Report, and at popular online and print outlets. Kathleen Sindell, Ph.D. is a member of the Board of Directors for the Financial Planning Association, National Capital Area (FPA NCA), is on the Editorial Advisory Panel of the Journal of Financial Planning, and is Co-Chair of the Metro Washington Financial Planning Day. Sindell is a Course Chair II, CFP Program Academic Officer, and adjunct full-professor at the University of Maryland, UMUC, School of Undergraduate Studies. Contact Information: ksindell@kathleensindell.com or 703-299-1700
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