Retire Abroad and Still Collect Social Security? Avoid These 9 Countries Where It’s Not Possible

Social security benefits

Dreaming of retiring to a sun-drenched beach or a quaint village? Many Americans envision spending their golden years abroad, savoring the delights of new cultures and landscapes. However, an essential part of this dream hinges on the financial stability provided by Social Security benefits. Before packing your bags and bidding farewell, it’s crucial to know that not all countries play by the same rules when it comes to collecting these benefits overseas. Here are the nine countries where your dream of retiring abroad could hit a snag, as Social Security benefits don’t cross every border. Avoid living in these countries so your retirement plans don’t get lost in translation.


View of the waterfront and the city at night, in Baku, Azerbaijan. vintage tone filter
Depositphotos Photo by vverve

Azerbaijan, nestled between Europe and Asia, offers a rich tapestry of cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and a blend of Eastern and Western influences. From the ancient city of Baku to the picturesque Caucasus Mountains, retirees may find an intriguing mix of tradition and modernity in this vibrant nation.


Nesvizh Castle - medieval castle in Belarus
Depositphotos Photo by DmitryRukhlenko

Belarus, known for its timeless architecture and pristine landscapes, invites retirees to explore its tranquil countryside and charming towns. With a fascinating history and warm hospitality, Belarus offers a unique retirement experience in the heart of Eastern Europe.


Old Havana downtown Street - Havana, Cuba
Depositphotos Photo by diegograndi

Cuba’s vibrant culture, colorful streets, and rhythmic music beckon retirees seeking a laid-back lifestyle in the Caribbean. From the vintage charm of Havana to the idyllic beaches of Varadero, Cuba offers a tantalizing blend of history, art, and natural beauty.


Depositphotos Photo by brokenrecords
Big Almaty Lake in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s vast steppes, soaring mountains, and cosmopolitan cities paint a picture of diversity and adventure. Retirees can immerse themselves in Kazakh traditions, explore the modern metropolis of Nur-Sultan, and marvel at the natural wonders of this Central Asian gem.


Ancient Burana tower located on famous Silk road, Kyrgyzstan
Depositphotos Photo by ollab

Kyrgyzstan’s rugged landscapes, nomadic heritage, and welcoming people make it a captivating destination for adventurous retirees. From trekking in the Tien Shan mountains to experiencing the nomadic way of life, Kyrgyzstan offers an escape into untouched wilderness and timeless traditions.

North Korea

Pyongyang, North Korea
Depositphotos Photo by znm666

North Korea’s enigmatic allure and tightly controlled society offer a glimpse into a world shrouded in mystery. Retirees may be intrigued by the country’s socialist ideology, iconic landmarks, and secluded lifestyle, albeit within the confines of government restrictions.


View of Dushanbe with Presidential palace and the Varzob River. The capital of Tajikistan, Central Asia
Depositphotos Photo by Leonid_Andronov

Tajikistan’s breathtaking scenery, ancient Silk Road heritage, and warm hospitality create an enchanting backdrop for retirement adventures. Retirees can explore historic cities, embark on epic mountain treks, and immerse themselves in Tajik culture amidst the rugged beauty of Central Asia.


Main square and palace Ruhyet. Ashkhabad. Turkmenistan
Depositphotos Photo by velirina

Turkmenistan’s desert landscapes, architectural wonders, and rich cultural heritage capture the imagination of adventurous retirees. From the gleaming white marble city of Ashgabat to the ancient ruins of Merv, Turkmenistan offers a journey through time and tradition.


Registan, an old public square in the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Depositphotos Photo by monticello

Uzbekistan’s storied past, intricate Islamic architecture, and bustling bazaars offer retirees a feast for the senses. From exploring the ancient Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara to indulging in flavorful cuisine, Uzbekistan promises an unforgettable retirement experience in the heart of Central Asia.

How to Receive Social Security Abroad

Happy Senior couple sitting at table with calculator and counting money
Depositphotos Photo by AndrewLozovyi

The Social Security Administration (SSA) facilitates the electronic payment of benefits via direct deposit into foreign bank accounts.

Receiving Social Security benefits while overseas involves a periodic check by the SSA, which comes in the form of a questionnaire SSA-7162, verifying your ongoing eligibility for benefits. The frequency of mailing these forms, which can be annually or biannually, depends on the individual’s age and country of residence. Failing to respond to these questionnaires could lead to a suspension of your benefits.

Managing Your Social Security Benefits from Abroad

Older couple with laptop doing taxes
Depositphotos Photo by HayDmitriy

Living outside the U.S. doesn’t mean you’re disconnected from Social Security benefits. You have the option to apply for these benefits online, no matter where you are in the world with the exception of a few countries. Since the list of countries could change, it would be advisable to always consult the  payments outside the U.S. tool before planning your move abroad.

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