Can Social Security disability payments be mailed to me abroad?

Whether or not a claimant’s benefits payments can be mailed to them abroad depends entirely on the country in which they are residing, and how long they plan to remain there.

For those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will stop sending benefits if a claimant remains outside of the country for more than 30 days, and benefits will not restart until the recipient has spent a total of 30 days back in the United States. This rule does not apply, however, to dependent children of military personnel or students who are studying overseas.

For those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), benefits will continue to be paid and can be delivered to most foreign countries. There are some limitations, however, as benefit checks cannot be mailed to some countries that were part of the former Soviet Union, or a number of other countries including Cambodia and Vietnam. In such cases where direct mailing is impossible, an application for exception can be submitted, and upon approval the beneficiary would be able to pick up his or her monthly benefit check in person at the United States embassy in the country of residence.

Social Security Disability benefit checks cannot be delivered to claimants living in North Korea or Cuba because the Treasury Department is forbidden from sending money to either country. That does not necessarily mean, however, that the benefits will stop while a beneficiary is residing in one of these nations. If the time in these countries is less than thirty days, for instance, benefits will continue uninterrupted during the time that the recipient is outside of the country. In cases where beneficiaries are going to be in either country for over 30 days, benefits will accrue and will be available for delivery and deposit as soon as the claimant goes to a country where it is possible to receive mailed benefits checks.

In almost all cases, direct deposit is the fastest and most convenient way to receive Social Security Disability benefits, and this option is available for claimants residing in many countries.

The best way to get information on whether or not you can receive your Social Security Disability benefits while abroad is to contact your local Social Security office about the specific country in question.

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