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Traveling Abroad While Receiving Disability Benefits

According to the SSA (Social Security Administration), when you are not in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or the Northern Mariana Islands, and you have been away from these places for at least 30 days, then you are considered outside the United States. When you have returned to the United States and have been there for 30 consecutive days, then your status will change. If you are, however, not a citizen of the U.S., you may be subject to proving you have been back in the United States for those 30 days.
 
Eligible U.S. citizens can still receive their benefits even when they are outside of the United States, with the exception of some countries to which the U.S. cannot send payments. There are also certain countries to which the U.S. will continue to send your payments if you are a citizen of that country. If eligible, you can receive your payments to:
 
Austria, Belgium Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, and the United Kingdom.
 
You will receive these payments no matter how long you have been outside of the United States. If you are not a U.S. citizen or a citizen of one of the countries listed on the SSA website, then your payments will cease if you have been outside of the United States for six months. There are exceptions to this, but you must meet certain criteria to continue receiving payments, some of which include having served in the military and being a resident of a country with which the U.S. has a social security agreement. The SSA website features a list of all the countries with which the U.S. has an agreement.
 
When you are not in the United States, you must fill out a questionnaire for the SSA to determine if you are still eligible for benefits. It is also required that you notify the SSA of any changes that may affect your benefits, and intentional failure to do this can be punishable by fines or imprisonment. You must report things such as a change of address, work outside the U.S., improvement in your disability, marriage, divorce, adoption, death, and an inability to manage your funds, among other things.
 
If you are in the Beachwood area and plan to travel outside of the United States, you may want to hire a social security disability lawyer to help you fight for your benefits. Having the assistance of an attorney can get you through some of the overwhelming processes that come with filing for disability.