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Keeping Social Security disability benefits while living abroad

Individuals who are eligible for or receiving Social Security Disability benefits for illnesses and injuries that prevent them from working can, in many cases, maintain their benefits, if they live outside of the country. This post will generally discuss what it means to live abroad, some of the geographic restrictions that the Social Security Administration places on payments and other issues Pennsylvanians may encounter if they leave the United States while receiving disability benefits.

Living outside of the United States includes living outside of the fifty states as well as outside of territories held by the United States, including, but limited to, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Traveling abroad is not enough to deem someone living abroad. Generally, a person must reside outside of the United States for 30-straight days to be considered living abroad.

If a person returns to the United States and stays in the country for at least 30 days, then they are considered to have moved back into the country. While abroad a person can usually receive their disability payments unless they choose to live in a restricted nation. Individuals living in Cuba and North Korea may not receive disability benefits while abroad.

Additionally, residency in certain nations may require individuals to meet different standards to see the disability benefits continue while they are outside of the United States. Much of this topic is case specific as different rules apply to the many nations that disability benefits' recipients may select as their new domains of residency. To receive the best information on this important topic interested readers encouraged to speak with their legal representatives before moving abroad.

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee