“Would you please write a supplement showing the requirements of the U.S. government for Social Security payments while living in the countries you recommend? I believe that the Social Security Administration requires that you report if you are away from the United States for more than 30 days at a time.”
— Sukumar S., United States
No, dear reader, there is no requirement to report your whereabouts or any absences from U.S. soil to the Social Security Administration (assuming you are a U.S. citizen), and you can receive your Social Security payments anywhere in the world.
The rules for having your Social Security paid outside the States are here: www.ssa.gov/pubs/10137/.
If you’re not a U.S. citizen, some restrictions may apply. These are detailed on the Web page I reference above.
The easiest thing is to have your monthly Social Security payment direct deposited into your U.S. bank account. Then you can withdraw cash from that account using your ATM card anywhere in the world.
In fact, you can even have your Social Security payment direct deposited into your overseas bank account in many countries, including most of Europe and Panama.
Receiving Social Security Payments Overseas In Thailand And Vietnam
“Kathleen, thank you so much for your newsletters. I appreciate the content and the effort.
“I really want to retire to Thailand. Phuket. Far away. And great food.
“Can I can still receive my SSI living in Thailand? Unlike Vietnam where I have lived for nearly eight years. By the way, Hanoi is not very nice. Nha Trang is very beautiful, though.”
–Paul R., United States
Yes, you can receive your Social Security payments while living in Thailand. As you suggest, this is not the case for an American retiree living in Vietnam. Vietnam is on the list of countries where the Social Security Administration will not send benefits. You can, though, have benefits withheld while you’re living in Vietnam (or the other countries on the no-payment list) sent to you when you move to another country where payments can be received.
“Thank you, Kathleen, for sharing your wealth of knowledge over the years.
“We are finally moving to Panama in April of this year and after looking at the Social Security website I see that Panama is a country where Social Security benefits can be directly deposited.
“However, the site is lacking in telling me how to proceed prior to moving there. I will be working through March so cannot apply for my benefits before I leave work. How would you recommend I proceed with setting up my Social Security to be direct deposited into my bank account in Panama?
–Jack A., United States
You’ll need a bank account in Panama where you can have your Social Security payments deposited each month. You won’t be able to open an account in Panama until you come to Panama. Therefore, I’d suggest you have the payments direct deposited into your U.S. account until you’re able to establish a bank account in Panama and change where the payments are sent.
Meantime, I recommend that you contact Social Security Administration for the official line on this.
Continue Reading: Keys To A Happy Retired Life Overseas