What Happens to My Social Security Monthly Monetary Benefit if I Leave the U.S.?

Brad BotesImmigration is a pretty hot topic these days and I thought I would discuss a possible aspect of it in my blog entry that we do not normally hear about in the current national debate:  What happens to a claimant’s Social Security (SSA) monthly monetary benefits if they leave the United States?

Here the SSA includes all of the states and the country’s many territories, administrative districts, etc. as the “United States.”  The SSA considers the recipient to have left the country if they are outside the “United States” for 30 consecutive days.

Worst Case Scenario

In the worst case scenario claimants may not be eligible receive their checks anymore -- at least temporarily -- if they go to certain restricted countries, e.g. Cuba or North Korea for sure.  They do not outright lose the monthly monetary benefit and may collect it when they return to the “United States” or travel to an unrestricted country.

However,  the U.S. Department of the Treasury (USDOT) will not send their checks until then.  The SSA considers you back in the country or an unrestricted country after you have been here or there for 30 consecutive days.

What are Semi-Restricted Countries?

What I would call “semi-restricted” countries are those that the USDOT may send monthly monetary benefits to.  These include Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan among others.  By “semi-restricted” I mean SSA recipients may qualify for what the agency terms an “exception” if they tick all the right boxes when applying for same, they then may be able to receive their checks.

To be on the safe side, check out the SSA’s Payments Abroad Screening Tool before you leave the “United States” to avoid a nasty shock.

Keep in mind all this only applies to U.S. citizens.  If you are a non-citizen drawing an SSA monthly monetary benefit there are many other qualifiers you have to meet in order to continue to receive your check once you have left the country.  Safe travels!

Contact an Experienced SSA Disability Benefits Lawyer

If you or your child have been denied SSA 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 in your child, please contact our office nearest to you to set up a free consultation appointment to discuss your situation.

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