Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits Outside the USA

Many of our clients often ask whether or not their social security disability benefits will continue if they travel outside of the United States for an extended period of time. The short answer is yes, but there are several conditions, so I will explain it here.

Generally, a US Citizen can travel or reside in another country without having their benefits halted. You can also apply for social security disability benefits from outside of the United States, if you qualify, and meet all the work requirements. However, Statute 288.853, makes it impossible for Social Security disability benefits to reach you in Cuba or North Korea. Your benefits will resume if you then travel to a country in which this is not an issue. There are also restrictions placed on receiving benefits while you are in the following countries:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Cambodia
  • Georgia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Moldova
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam

While the restrictions make it a bit more complex, if you meet the requirements and agree to the circumstances, your benefits can and will continue.

Things are a bit different if you are not a US citizen. Non-citizens who are permanent residents can qualify for Social Security benefits (unless they are citizens of Cuba, North Korea or Vietnam). However, if you are planning on residing outside of the country for an extended period of time, the requirements will change. After leaving the US for a consecutive 6 calendar months, your benefits will stop completely. You can prevent this by returning to the US once every 30 days, for 30 consecutive days every 6 months, or by being eligible for a number of other exceptions.

The Totalization Agreement the US maintains with several countries has made receiving your social security benefits abroad simpler. This agreement eliminates dual Social Security taxation when a worker from one country works in another country and is required to pay Social Security taxes to both countries on the same earnings. It also fills the gaps in benefit protection for workers who have divided their careers between the United States and another country. The countries included in this agreement are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. To find out more about receiving benefits outside of the US, click here.

If you need assistance appealing a decision about your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the experienced attorneys, here at the Coye Law Firm, for a free consultation.

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