Social Security Payments Outside the United States
If you receive Retirement, Survivors, or Disability Insurance benefits and you are leaving (or have already left) the United States, your payments might be affected.
Questions & Answers:
Generally, we cannot pay Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance benefits to noncitizens after their sixth calendar month outside the United States. However, you might qualify for an exception, which could allow you to receive benefits without visiting the United States. If an exception does not apply, you must be physically and lawfully present in the United States for a full calendar month to begin receiving benefits. If you leave the U.S., we will stop your benefits the month after the sixth calendar month in a row that you are outside the country. You can make visits to the United States for specific periods of time, depending on how long you’ve been outside, to continue receiving your benefits. Here’s how it works:
- We will not start counting the calendar months of absence until you have been outside the United States for 30 days in a row. If you return to the United States for any part of one day before 30 days have passed since you left, we stop counting days absent. For example, if you left the U.S. on January 15, we stop counting your absence if you return for any part of one day before the end of the day on February 14.
- Once you have been outside the U.S. for 30 days in a row, you will continue to receive benefits if you stay in the U.S. for 30 days in a row before the end of the sixth calendar month after the date you left. For example, if you left on January 15, and did not return before the end of the day on February 14, you must complete a 30-day stay in the United States before the end of July to continue receiving payments. This means you must return to the United States on or before the first day of July. If you do not return on or before July 1, your benefits will stop beginning August.
- If we stopped your benefits, you must return and remain lawfully present for the entire calendar month to start receiving benefits again. A full calendar month visit means you are physically present for every hour of every day of any month of the year. For example, to considered present in the U.S. for the full calendar month of August, you must arrive in the United States no later than July 31 and leave no sooner than September 1.
For more information about receiving Social Security benefits outside the United States, see the Payments Abroad Screening Tool and Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States.
When you visit the United States, you must provide proof of your physical presence in the United States. Your proof must include your name and the date(s) that you were physically and lawfully present in the United States. You do not have to visit a Social Security office to submit proof of U.S. presence. Copies of this evidence can be mailed or faxed to us. For information about contacting Social Security, visit the International Programs page.
For a one-day visit, you must provide at least one copy of proof confirming your physical presence in the United States for a specific date or dates. An example of proof includes an official U.S. Government document from the Department of Homeland Security. Another example is a payment receipt showing your name, date, and location of a purchase in the United States. If this proof is not available, we can accept at least one signed statement from someone who has knowledge of your U.S. visit. The statement must include the date or dates you were physically in the United States, and the address and signature of the person making the statement. You will also need to submit an explanation of why the person has knowledge of your U.S. visit.
For a 30-day or full calendar month visit, you must provide a statement of the dates you entered and left the United States. The statement must include an explanation that you did not go outside the United States during these dates. Your statement must also include the U.S. address where you stayed and your signature. With your statement, you must also provide a copy of an official document or receipt as proof. If proof is not available, you must explain why, and you must provide two signed statements. One statement must be from the person who provided lodging to you in the United States during your visit. The other statement can be from anyone who had knowledge of your visit. Both statements must show the dates you entered and left the United States. They must also include the addresses and signatures of the people making the statements, and explanations of why they have knowledge of your U.S. visit.
Additional Information and Resources:
- Payments Abroad Screening Tool
The Payments Abroad Screening Tool will help you learn if you can receive benefits outside the United States. By answering a few short questions, you will learn if your Social Security payments will continue.
The Social Security publication—Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States. (Spanish) - explains how your benefits might be affected and other important information you need to know while you are outside the United States.
- Requirements for Dependents/Survivors
The Social Security publication—Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States. (Spanish) - explains how your benefits as a dependent or survivor of the worker might be affected. There are additional U.S. residency requirements that may affect your right to receive Social Security payments while you are outside the United States.