“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.html.
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.
“Kathleen, I am renting in Medellin for the long haul. I am 66-years-old, so the long haul I hope will be long, but, even if not, I feel I have found an answer for myself and for other readers on low incomes.
“I am guaranteed by my pension and Social Security a grand total of US$3,050 per month. I saved up a few bucks in California by some hard work and the kindness of friends and family and bought a ticket to Medellin on your recommendation and after much Internet research.
“At the airport the agent gave me three months of a tourist OK when I asked him for it. Then a most splendid cabbie took me to a very nice neighborhood called Sabaneta, which I had researched on the Web. Very cozy, Sabaneta has everything a newbie might want, especially inexpensive hotels and a beautiful park and access to the rest of the city. You know that one special thing about Medellin is that all of the city’s areas have easy and inexpensive access to the rest of the city.
“I stayed for five weeks, took a trip to Manizales and Armenia to explore, went to soccer matches, explored clubs and restaurants, and got to know Medellin fairly well. Spent a lot of time between Plaza Botero, Heart’s Desire Park, Parque Lleras, the Golden Mile, and Sabaneta/Envigado. I made frequent trips into El Centro for real shopping and found just about everything to be a great bargain. I even had a root canal done by a dentist and his crew of specialists for about one-third the cost in California, even without my dental plan subsidies.
“An expat who I met several times for coffee introduced me to a Paisa who had an apartment for rent. I soon moved from the small three-star hotel to my fifth-floor five-bedroom three-bath security apartment house in Envigado, near the Carrefour. Great view, secure, modern, well-furnished, for US$1,550/month. Now that’s more than half of my income.
“Of course, as you know, though, I am living extremely well on the remaining US$1,500/month. And, by the way, the apartment came with all fees and utilities paid, including Wi-Fi, telephone, gas, water, electric, etc.
“I’m back in California right now to see friends and family and to make my case for them to come visit me. I also got my Visa Temporal Pensionado at the consulate, good for six months.
“I would love to see you at the Carrefour sometime to thank you and Live and Invest Overseas.
“Hasta la pronto.”
–Larry R., Colombia
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