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Receiving Social Security payments outside the United States


The vast majority of American citizens who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits live inside the United States, but a small number, including many with ties to Michigan, live outside the country for varying periods of time. Under Social Security law, most of these people can also receive their benefits where they live as long as they are eligible. All recipients getting their payments abroad, however, must meet certain requirements.

First, the recipient must be outside the United States for 30 consecutive days. Second, the recipient must live in a country that has a reciprocal Social Security agreement with the U.S. government. A list of eligible countries can be found at a local Social Security office in the United States, online or at a U.S. embassy.

If a person is not a U.S citizen or no exceptions apply, then SSD benefits will be discontinued once the person is outside the United States for six months. The payments will not resume until the recipient returns to his or her residency in the United States. The Social Security Administration may also ask a person to provide evidence of that he or she has been living in the United States for one full month.

Payments cannot be sent to people living in Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and 10 other countries. The SSA will, however, hold all payments until the time that the recipient returns to the United States or is in a country with which the United States has a reciprocal agreement. A few exceptions are possible for recipients living in countries other than Cuba and North Korea.

Many times people with disabilities face trouble receiving SSDI benefits even if they meet all eligibility criteria. For them, guidance from a legal professional with experience handling SSDI cases can help ensure their rights are protected.

Source: SSA.gov, "What happens to your right to Social Security payments when you are outside the United States," accessed on June 19, 2015

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