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Social Security in Foreign Countries


Increasingly more and more Americans are working in foreign countries or they are planning to live in one after they retire. In a globalized economy, this trend can be expected to continue.

Americans in either situation need to know what their rights are in regard to Social Security benefits and any benefits they might have in a foreign country’s retirement program.

Recently, Public Opinion gave a quick rundown in “Social Security: Retiring overseas? What you need to know to get benefits abroad.”

If you have worked in the U.S., paid into the Social Security program and worked in a foreign country with a public pension program, then you may be eligible to combine payments from both programs when you retire.

The U.S. has treaties with 25 other nations that allow for this. The details differ depending on the country in question and there are provisions to make sure people cannot draw full benefits from both countries and get a windfall.

If you plan to move overseas after you retire, then you might still be eligible to receive your Social Security benefits. Most American citizens should be able to receive benefits wherever they go.

On the other hand, it is much more complicated for resident aliens who have lawfully paid into the system and wish to leave the country after retiring.

Anyone in that situation should seek the advice of an elder law attorney.

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