You may be are curious about how living as an expat abroad (or traveling for an extended period) may effect your Social Security Retirement Benefits. Fortunately, the rules are not too complicated.
< First, we will assume that you will be collecting Social Security as a U.S. citizen. Given that, this is a summary of the rules that will apply to you:
1. You may collect and receive Social Security benefits while living outside the United States for as long as you would be eligible to receive them if you lived in the U.S. For retirement benefits, that’s indefinitely.
2. For purposes of the SSA, being “outside the U.S.” means being outside the 50 U.S. states (and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands or American Samoa) for 30 days consecutively.
3. The Social Security Administration can send your benefit to any country where you may choose to live, except Cuba and North Korea. (Please don’t think about retiring there!)
4. You must report your change of residence to the SSA, even if your retirement benefits are sent to a bank account.
5. If you work overseas for an employer that does not withhold Social Security taxes or receive a pension/retirement benefit from a foreign government or employer that did not withhold Social Security, your Social Security Retirement benefit may be reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision.
For more information about collecting Social Security retirement benefits while living abroad, download this government pamphlet.