Disability recipients who want to live abroad may wonder what will happen to their disability benefits if they choose to move outside of the United States. Whether or not a disability recipient will be able keep his or her benefits after moving abroad depends on several factors.

It depends on how long you’re away

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers 30 days to be the dividing line between a visit and a move. If a disability recipient stays outside the United States for longer than 30 consecutive days, the SSA considers the recipient to have moved to the new country.

Keep in mind that any stay outside the United States lasting longer than 30 days requires disability recipients to report a status change to the SSA, including information on the recipient’s change of address.

b>It depends on what type of benefits you receive

Once a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient lives outside the United States for more than 30 days, his or her disability payments will be stopped. SSI payments can be reinstated once a SSI recipient returns to the United States and has lived in the United States for more than 30 days.

For the most part, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) recipients can continue to receive their SSD payments once they have relocated outside of the country. However, whether SSD payments will continue to be made is subject to the restrictions below.

It depends on where you live

SSD recipients can continue to receive their benefits if they move to an allowed country under the SSA’s rules. The SSA has a specific list of countries that it has agreements with and where disability recipients can continue to receive their payments, as well as a list of countries that are restricted and where recipients cannot receive payments.  

Keep in mind that when the SSA says a recipient is “outside the United States,” they mean the disability recipient is not in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa.

You have to follow the rules

If a disability recipient moves to a country where there are Social Security restrictions, it is possible for the recipient to qualify for an exception if he or she agrees to follow certain rules. For example, one of the conditions is that the recipient must pick up his or her benefits check in person each month from the U.S. embassy or consulate. These SSD recipients must receive their own benefit checks and their checks cannot be picked up by another person or family member.

You may have to return for periodic disability reviews

Even when a disability recipient moves abroad, he or she may have to return to the United States for periodic disability reviews. These reviews occur every three to seven years depending on the circumstances surrounding the recipient’s disability. Disability recipients must participate in these reviews or they may lose their SSD benefits.

Are you applying for SSD benefits or have you been denied SSD benefits? Consider Attorney Neil H. Good for your legal representation. Contact our office online for a free case evaluation or call #(847) 577-4476.