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Can you receive Social security benefits if you are not a US citizen and you move outside the US?

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Can you receive Social security benefits if you are not a US citizen and you move outside the US?
The answer is maybe.

When we say you are outside the United States, we mean that you are not in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands or American Samoa. Once you have been out of the United States. for at least 30 days in a row, you are considered to be outside the country until you return and stay in the United States for at least 30 days in a row. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you also may have to prove that you were lawfully present in the United States for that 30-day period.

If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed below, Social Security payments will keep coming no matter how long you stay outside the United States, as long as you are eligible for the payments.

Austria
Belgium
Canada
Chile
Czech Republic
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Korea (South)
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom

If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed below, you also may receive your payments as long as you are outside the United States, unless you are receiving your payments as a dependent or survivor. In that case, there are additional requirements you have to meet.

Albania
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Bolivia
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Brazil
Burkina Faso
Colombia
Costa Rica
Côte d'Ivoire
Croatia
Cyprus
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Gabon
Grenada
Guatemala
Guyana
Hungary
Iceland
Jamaica
Jordan
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Macedonia
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mexico
Micronesia, Fed. States of
Monaco
Montenegro
Nicaragua
Palau
Panama
Peru
Philippines
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
Samoa (formerly Western Samoa)
San Marino
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Trinidad-Tobago
Turkey
Uruguay
Venezuela

If you are not a U.S. citizen or a citizen of one of the other countries listed above, your payments will stop after you have been outside the United States for six full calendar months unless you meet one of the following exceptions:
  • You were eligible for monthly Social Security benefits for December 1956; or
  • You are in the active military or naval service of the United States; or
  • The worker on whose record your benefits are based had railroad work treated as covered employment by the Social Security program; or
  • The worker on whose record your benefits are based died while in the U.S. military service or as a result of a service-connected disability and was not dishonorably discharged; or
  • You are a resident of a country with which the United States has a Social Security agreement.

Currently, these countries are:
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Canada
Chile
Czech Republic
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Ireland
Italy
Japan
Korea (South)
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom

However, the agreements with Austria, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland permit you to receive benefits as a dependent or survivor of a worker while you reside in the foreign country. This is true only if the worker is (or was at the time of death) a U.S. citizen or a citizen of your country of residence; or
  • You are a citizen of one of one of the following countries, and the worker on whose record your benefits are based lived in the United States for at least 10 years or earned at least 40 credits under the U.S. Social Security system. If you are receiving benefits as a dependent or survivor, see additional requirements.
  • Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Botswana, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Congo, Rep. of, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Uganda, Yemen

If you are not a citizen of one of the countries listed above, you cannot use this exception. If you are not a U.S. citizen and none of these exceptions applies to you, your payments will stop after you have been outside the United States for six full months. Once this happens, your payments cannot be started again until you come back and stay in the United States for a whole calendar month. You have to be in the United States on the first minute of the first day of a month and stay through the last minute of the last day of that month.

In addition, you may be required to prove that you have been lawfully present in the United States for the full calendar month. There are additional requirements for dependents of survivors. For more information, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate or Social Security office.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must have lived in the United States for at least five years. During that five years, the family relationship on which benefits are based must have existed. Children may meet this residency requirement on their own or may be considered as meeting the residency requirement if it is met by the worker and other parent (if any). However, children adopted outside the United States will not be paid outside the United States, even if the residency requirement is met. The residency requirement will not apply to you if you meet any of the following conditions:
  • You were initially eligible for monthly benefits before January 1, 1985; or
  • You are entitled on the record of a worker who died while in the U.S. military service or as a result of a service-connected disease or injury; or
  • You are a citizen of one of the countries listed below;
  • Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Things that must be reported Listed below are things that must be reported. You can report by contacting us in person, by mail or by telephone.
  • Change of address
  • Work outside the U.S.
  • If you return to work or your disability improves
  • Marriage
  • Divorce or annulment
  • Adoption of a child
  • Child leaves the care of a wife, husband, widow or widower
  • Child nearing age 18 is a full-time student or is disabled
  • Death
  • Inability to manage funds
  • Deportation or removal from the United States.
  • Changes in parental circumstances
  • Eligibility for a pension from work not covered by Social Security

For more information, see the Social Security Online website, accessible via Related Links, below.
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