If you are under full retirement age, we withhold benefits for every month you work more than 45 hours outside the United States in employment or self-employment (not subject to U.S. Social Security taxes).

It doesn't matter how much you earned or how many hours you worked each day. You will be considered to be working on any day you:

  • Work as an employee or self-employed person;
  • Have an agreement to work even if you do not actually work because of sickness, vacation, etc.; or
  • Are the owner or part owner of a trade or business even if you do not actually work in the trade or business or receive any income from it.

Generally, if your benefits are withheld because of your work, we cannot pay benefits to anyone else receiving benefits on your record for that month. However, the work of others receiving benefits on your record affects only their own benefits.


Under certain conditions, work performed outside the United States by U.S. citizens or residents is covered by the U.S. Social Security program.

If your work is covered by U.S. Social Security, the same annual retirement test that applies to people in the United States applies to you.

For more information about working outside the United States while you receive benefits, go to "Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States."