Will I continue receiving my Social Security Disability benefits while living abroad?
As long as you are eligible, you will continue receiving your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits while you are living abroad, provided you are residing in countries with which Social Security has an agreement. Citizens of certain countries who are eligible to receive SSD benefits can also receive their checks if they are residing outside the United States, no matter how long they stay.
There are a few nations which do not maintain a Social Security agreement with the United States, including Azerbaijan, Cambodia, North Korea, and Vietnam. In case you move to one of these countries, the SSA will not mail social security checks there.
How many days qualifies “living abroad” for Social Security?
Any stay outside the United States that exceeds a time period of 30 days is considered to be residence outside the country. In such a case, you need to report your status change to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The same applies for any changes in your residential address, marital status, work status, income, etc. to avoid any penalties. For Social Security Disability insurance purposes, the following regions are counted as part of the US:
- Puerto Rico
- The US Virgin Islands
- The Northern Mariana Islands
- American Samoa
The SSA will periodically send you questionnaires if you are residing in another country (not listed above) and you will need to fill up and send these back within the allotted timeframe.
What about SSD dependents?
The regulations for receiving benefits as a beneficiary or a dependent are different. In this case, you can still continue receiving payouts if you haven’t been outside the United States for over six months.
The official SSA website is equipped with a Payments Abroad Screening Tool that allows you to understand the entitlement of benefits depending on your unique situation. The rules and regulations for the right to disability benefits while living overseas are complex, since they may change from person to person and country to country.
Your best bet is to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the entire set of rules applicable to you and your dependents.
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