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If you are visiting or moving overseas, your SSDI benefits may be paused.If you are a U.S. citizen and eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you may receive SSDI benefits but not SSI benefits. SSI benefits are for those who have left for less than 30 days.

Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits Overseas

The SSA will send payments to the recipient for the months they were abroad, and it will only not send payments for any months living in Cuba or North Korea. Due to political tension between the U.S. and these countries, the Department of the Treasury does not allow payments to be sent over there. Besides Cuba and North Korea, there are also other countries where payments cannot be sent to:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Georgia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Moldova
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam

Receiving Social Security Benefits Overseas

SSI benefits cannot be obtained once a citizen or legal resident has been outside of the U.S. for more than 30 days, and only after returning to the U.S. for 30 days will benefit payments resume (Puerto Rico counts as outside of the U.S. while the Northern Mariana Islands count as inside). Children of military personnel are the only exception. If they move abroad due to their parents' service, then their SSI benefits will not stop.

Important Notes On Disability Benefits While Abroad

The SSA should be alerted if moving out of or into the country, or if a noncitizen's immigration/citizen status changes. The SSA considers at least 30 days outside of the U.S. as living abroad, and only considers the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa as the U.S. Unfortunately, SSI payments will stop if not inside the 50 states, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands.

Who Is Responsible for SSA Issues and Assistance Abroad?

The Office of International Operations (OIO) is the division of the SSA in charge of Social Security matters abroad. They have help from embassies and consulates across the world and can assist U.S. citizens or legal residents that live or plan to live abroad. They take care of retirement benefits applications, disability benefits applications, eligibility screenings, and estimating benefits. Please call BenGlassLaw for a free consultation at (703) 584-7277 if you are planning to move abroad and need assistance with your Social Security Disability benefits.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized car accident and ERISA disability attorney in Fairfax, VA.