Attorneys Explain Collecting Social Security Overseas

Ask the Los Angeles Social Security Attorneys:
Can I Collecting Social Security Disability if I’m Overseas?

Collecting Social Security if You Live Outside the U.S.

los angeles attorneys social securityOccasionally our attorneys are approached by clients who live somewhere outside of the United States. Many American citizens have jobs that require them to live in another country. Others may be living out of the country for an extended period due to a family or personal situation.

The good news is that you may be able to receive Social Security Disability, even if you live abroad. (However, note: you cannot collect SSI if you have been living outside the United States for 30 days or more.)

At the outset, the requirements for collecting Social Security Disability benefits for U.S. Citizens who are not U.S, residents is the same as for residents.

All Social Security Applicants must prove to the SSA that:

(1.) They are disabled;

(2.) That their disability will last for a year or longer (or is fatal);

(3.) That they are unable to engage in any work in the general economy; and

(4.) That they have enough work credits to qualify.

However, The Department of the Treasury prohibits the Social Security Administration from sending payments to several countries.

Countries Where You Cannot Collect Social Security Disability Benefits While Overseas:


North Korea;










Uzbekistan; and




In most cases, once the U.S. citizen moves to a country where the SSA can send payments, the SSA will then send the withheld payments to them.

However, there is an important exception to this. Legal residents who receive disability benefits currently cannot get their benefits for the months that they are in Cuba or North Korea.

New Policies May Affect Collecting Social Security Disability Overseas

Keep in mind that with the new administration, and the current volatile political situation, this information is subject to change. If you are living overseas or considering moving out of the country – please call an experienced attorney or the Social Security Administration to see how this may affect your ability to collect your benefits.

Things to Keep in Mind When Collecting Social Security Disability Overseas

If you are living overseas or planning to live overseas, always alert the SSA as to where you are moving. If you are a non-citizen and your immigration, citizen or residency status changes you should also alert the SSA.

Generally, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa are still considered to be “in the country.” However you should still alert the SSA of your move or intended move.

Once you are outside the country 30 consecutive days in a row, Social Security will consider that to be living out of the country.

Getting Help Overseas with Social Security

The Social Security Administration actually has a special division set up just to deal with international matters, called the Office of International Operations (OIO). This division works in conjunction with the Department of State’s embassies as well as various consulates, serving individuals already living outside the U.S. or who plan to live outside the U.S.

Through the Office of International Operations (OIO) you and/or your attorney can:

  • apply for Social Security retirement benefits;
  • apply for Social Security disability benefits;
  • do a Social Security eligibility screening; and
  • estimate Social Security benefits.

Our Los Angeles Area Social Security Attorneys Can Help

If you are living overseas or planning to live overseas, remember that because of the new administration, and the current rapidly changing political situation, this information is subject to change.

Having an experienced Social Security Disability attorney in the United States can help ensure that everything is handled properly so that you receive the maximum amount of benefits for which you qualify in the fastest possible amount of time. Call our experienced Los Angeles area Social Security attorneys for a FREE CONSULTATION to see how living overseas may affect your Social Security Disability.

Los Angeles Area Social Security Attorneys: 800-964-8047