Attorney James EzzellGiven the somewhat transient nature of our society these days, a question that we get asked often is “What happens to my SSA benefits if I have to move?”

Well, there are two answers to this question.

Moving to a New State

Since SSA benefits emanate from a Federal program, if you move anywhere in the United States, i.e. to one of the other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands or American Samoa, the answer is nothing.

You will continue to receive the SSA benefits you are entitled to at the same amount you have been getting.  You will not be penalized in any way for the move.

If your move is more remote, then things can get a little complicated.

Moving to a New Country

If you leave the United States for 30 days or more, the SSA considers you to be then “outside the country” in its words.  It also requires that, when you return, you remain in the United States for at least 30 days for it to consider you back in the country.

Once you are considered “outside the country,” the SSA’s website contains a list of countries it has a “Social Security Agreement” with where you may continue to receive your benefits with no problems, even if you have set up residence there and are out of the United States for longer than six months.

If, however,  you are receiving payments as a dependant or survivor and are a citizen of one of the following countries and are “outside the country” for more than six months, there are a number of requirements you have to meet.

Finally, the SSA will not send payments to you if you are in Cuba, North Korea, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan or Vietnam.  Once you have vacated these countries, it will send you the back time payments you are due once you meet certain benchmarks.

As with any government program, this just skims the surface as there is quite a bit more to it.  The SSA has a nice pamphlet available on its website that provides the above and additional details.

If you or your child have been denied disability benefits or suffer from a severe impairment that is expected to last more than twelve months and that prevents you from doing any of your past or other work or is causing developmental delay, please contact our office nearest to you to set up a free consultation appointment to discuss your situation.

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