One of the most important and often one of the most misunderstood subjects for expatriate living is Social Security from the United States.
Almost every week, I speak with someone who believes common myths about Social Security. The most common myth is that you cannot receive Social Security if you live in a foreign country.
That absolutely is false -- YOU CAN RECEIVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY IN ALMOST EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.
It is easy to get accurate information instead of believing your “friend” who thinks he knows everything. The Social Security
Administration makes it easy by providing a brochure titled “Your Payments While You are Outside the United States”. This brochure is also available online. It is also easy to visit an office or the nearest US Embassy or consulate for more information. And if you like, you can Google Social Security and find the website and phone numbers for more information.
Here are a few facts:
- US citizens can receive payments in most countries (a few are restricted by US Treasury regulations).
- Your payment can be deposited directly in your foreign bank account in most countries (Belize, Mexico, Panama, and Portugal are included).
- Direct deposits are received much faster than check payments and are safer – you do not need to worry about lost or stolen checks or delays in the mail. Even if the mail is not delayed, it takes longer to receive a check by mail in a foreign country.
- Direct deposits usually save on currency conversion fees and check cashing fees.
- The Direct Express® debit card is another option for receiving your benefits. Money is deposited directly into your debit card account. The card can be used to get cash, make purchases, and pay bills in many locations. Transactions are often free.
- You may not want to sign up for Medicare part B because Medicare benefits are available only in the United States. However, if you enroll later, you will receive higher premiums.
- Social Security benefits are calculated in US dollars. International exchange rates do not change the amount you are paid.
As a reminder to those who are considering a move to a foreign country to take advantage of a lower cost of living,
Yes, you can live on your Social Security and you can receive it in your new country.