Receiving Social Security Disability Payments Outside of the United States

If you are a United States citizen and if you successfully apply for Social Security disability payments, you can likely continue to receive your benefits even if you travel or live abroad. However, there are a number of exceptions to the rule. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Due to U.S. Treasury Department payment restrictions, you will not be able to receive payment if you live in Cuba or North Korea.
  • You may not be able to receive payment if you are living in Cambodia, Vietnam, or some countries that were part of the former Soviet Union (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan). However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as agreeing to pick up your benefits directly from the U.S. Embassy each month.
  • If you aren’t a United States citizen, your Social Security disability payments will stop after six months of being outside of the country in most cases, though there are exceptions.
  • If you are living outside of the United Sates and receiving Social Security benefits, you must report any life events or changes to your status, including: change of address, marriage, adoption, employment outside of the U.S., divorce, deportation, changes in parental circumstances, change in disability, an inability to handle funds, and pension eligibility.
  • If you live abroad and receive disability benefits, you will need to fill out a regular questionnaire sent to you by the SSA regarding your status, your disability, and your living situation. Not returning these questionnaires could stop or stall your payments.
  • Realize that a number of foreign governments will tax any Social Security benefits you receive for your disability–be sure you research this before leaving the United States.
  • Realize that it often takes checks longer to arrive when you are living outside of the United States and that you may not receive checks on the same day each month. Also realize that paper checks are more likely to be lost or stolen when mailed internationally.

Whether or not your can receive Social Security disability benefits while overseas depends strongly on what country you live in, the circumstances surrounding your payments, and your citizenship. If you are planning to leave the country for more than 30 days, you may wish to speak with a Dallas disability attorney about your plans and whether you will still be able to receive payments while abroad. To schedule a free meeting with an experienced lawyer, call Morgan & Weisbrod at 800-800-6353.