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John Ohe of Hola Expat Tax Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Castillo de San Felipe, Rio Dulce, Guatemala – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou can receive your Social Security check outside of the US directly to a foreign bank account. However, there is some paperwork that is required to do this. It's easier to have your Social Security check deposited into a US bank account and just access that money through a debit card. 
 
There is absolutely no US law that states that if you're living outside of the United States, you're not entitled to Social Security anymore. If you're entitled to Social Security, where you're living is completely irrelevant because you paid into the system. 
 
A lot of expats who continue to work for US companies but live abroad still pay into the Social Security system even while living abroad. They may be able to avoid income taxes, but they'd be paying into Social Security. For self-employed expats, they're basically the employer as well as the employee, so they pay both sides of Social Security taxes—as an employer, and as an employee.
 
(Castillo de San Felipe, Rio Dulce, Guatemala, pictured.)
By Edgington – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Commemorative photo of Citibank celebrating 100 years in the country of Columbia – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe have our Social Security and other retirement money deposited in an international investment banking corporation. I won't mention which one, but it's world wide, established, reliable, well funded and safe. We have credit cards that were issued from the institution that are usable at any ATM world wide, and the company remits fees from those transactions back to us, so we never have to pay anything to access our cash. We have no bank account (yet) in Medellin, nor do we feel we'll need one, since we have that international account.
In order to establish a bank account, at least in Colombia, it's necessary to have a visa/cedula. We're in the process of acquiring those, so it will be a while.
 
BE Medellin
(Commemorative photo of Citibank celebrating 100 years in the country of Columbia, pictured.)
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David Drummond of Georgetown Trust – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Most Belize banks will allow you to have your social security check deposited directly to your account with them.
 
But if you have a local bank account, that US dollar is going to get converted into the Belize dollar with a 2% conversion fee, and then that money will be sitting in your local Belize bank account, denominated in Belizean dollars.  Instead of doing this, if you don’t need the money to pay for items in Belize dollars, you could just as easily have your social security check go into your foreign bank account, an offshore bank account in Belize, or international bank account in Belize. Those institutions will also accept those transfers or you can simply have your social security check deposited into your US bank account first, and then have it transferred.
 
One thing that you have to realize when you go offshore is that banking in Belize is different. Banks don’t have a ton of risk on your money, so they make money by charging fees. Fees tend to be a little bit higher when you get offshore. People in the US are used to having a free checking account or free savings account.  When you go offshore, you are going to pay a monthly fee, typically somewhere around $12 to $15.  Whether it is in Belize or somewhere in the Caribbean or out in the world somewhere else, you have a fee.
 
(For a discussion of what bank to use when you move to Belize, please see my answer under “When I move to Belize, should I open a bank account or should I open a bank account in Belize?”)
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Lola Braxton of Services Toby – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
There are banks in Panama that will accept direct deposit from the US, including B.A.C, Banco General, Banco Nacional of Panama, Banco Uno, Banesco, Banistmo, Banvivienda, BBVA, Cacechi, Caja de Ahorros, Credicorp, Global, MultiCredit, Stanford, and Towerbank. Yes, there is a small fee charged for having your direct deposit account, but its worth it. 
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Karyn Saunders of Inside Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Yes you can get your Social Security Cheques deposited in Panama.  There is a fee as they are being deposited into a foreign bank account.  On another note you can Self Direct your IRA to an investment in Panama while you wait to retire.  Banking in Panama was once a huge challenge but has become a lot easier in recent years.  I have had two clients as of late that opened up a bank account in less than 24 hours.  All you need are two bank reference letters and proof of income but is some cases proof of income was not necessary but a minimum balance of $1,000 is.
Alan Filliger of Alana la Casa del Arte – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
You can receive your Social Security check benefits in Panama.  I feel the best way is through direct deposit into your Panama bank account.  It is easy, safe and reliable.  I can only receive Social security via direct deposit in Panama.  All other benefits need to come by wire transfer or a mailed check.  I use a mail service out of Miami, Florida which sends my mail to a location close to where I live.  Mail Boxes, etc. seems to be good and reliable in Panama.
Lorraine Samuels – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Social Security will mail/fwd/deposit your check here. I have mine going to my credit union account in the US, & I transfer funds to an account here in Panama  From the balcony of the Westin Playa Bonita Hotel in Veracruz, PanamaI can also use my US debit card to withdraw $ from the ATM; however there are fees. I can also deposit checks from my US credit union to my bank here, & there's a fee ($5.35).

Here in Panama they don't accept Medicare, but they do VA at a hospital. We use US currency ($, coins) & also Panamanian coins.
 
To the right is a picture I took from my balcony at the Westin Playa Bonita Hotel in Veracruz, Panama.

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Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
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The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
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Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
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