If you are a United States citizen, you can travel or live in most foreign countries without affecting your eligibility for Social Security benefits. However, if you reside in Cuba or North Korea, you cannot receive your Social Security benefits because of the U.S. Treasury Department payment restrictions. Also, if you go to any of the following countries you can receive your Social Security benefits only if you meet and agree to certain restricted conditions – Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
If you are not a United States citizen, the law requires Social Security to stop your payments after you have been outside the United States for six consecutive calendar months, unless you meet one of several exceptions in the law allowing your benefits to continue. Most of these exceptions are based on your country of citizenship, residence, or on other conditions.
Can I apply work overseas to my U.S. Social Security record?
The Social Security Administration generally does not transfer Social Security credits from one country to another. But your work overseas may help you qualify for Social Security benefits from the United States or an agreement country. This is because the United States has agreements with 24 countries to coordinate social security programs across national boundaries. This helps people who worked in both the United States and in an agreement country who may have not worked long enough in either to qualify for benefits. Click here for more information on U.S. International Social Security Agreements: https://www.ssa.gov/international/agreements_overview.html
By: Thomas A. Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®