Chapter 9: Receiving U.S. Social Security – #Americansabroad and entitlement


The above tweet references the following comment on a Wall Street Journal article:

Social Security is a separate program that people “pay into” every year. In return for “paying in” the U.S. agrees to “pay out” when he reaches a certain age. How is his citizenship or residence in any way related to that?

Self employed Americans abroad (unless they live in a country with a “Totalization Agreement”) are required to pay the Social Security Tax ON INCOME EARNED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES. Surely you would agree that they should receive the benefits even if they live outside the United States.

How is it that the “U.S. provided a livelihood” for him? Maybe he provided a “livelihood” for Americans. Maybe he “put food on the table of American families”.

Your comments remind me a little bit of President Obama’s “You didn’t build that that …”

Finally – “never getting citizenship …” There are many reasons people don’t acquire U.S. citizenship. In some cases they are citizens of countries that don’t allow dual or multiple citizenships.

This man worked. He paid into the system. He should be presumptively entitled to the benefits.

Listening in … An interesting Facebook discussion …


An identification of and “breakdown” of the issues …


General rule …

In general, Americans abroad are eligible for U.S. Social Security and eligible for having their payment sent to their country of residence. Nevertheless, because it’s the United States of America, there are always issues …

Understanding the issues …

The U.S. Government Social Security Site – Start here

This post includes a number of tweets which will reference you to “third party posts” about U.S. Social Security. Nevertheless, I strong recommend that you begin with the Official U.S. Government Social Security site. This site includes a specific “International Section“. Obviously it will always remain current. In fact, I urge you to make the Official U.S. Government site your most important “stopping point”. The site even includes an amazing tool to determine your entitlement to benefits.

An introduction:

Let’s break the “issues” into the following categories:

1. As an American Abroad, are you entitled to U.S. Social Security at all?

2. What if part of my working life was in the United States and part of it was abroad? – The impact of “Totalization Agreements”

3. As a U.S. citizen abroad, does my country of residence affect my entitlement to U.S. Social Security?

4. What if I renounce U.S. citizenship. How does that the fact that I am no longer a U.S. citizen and am now a “Non-Resident Alien” affect my entitlement to U.S. Social Security?

You become a “Non-resident alien”. Your eligibility for benefits is determined here:

See also:

Taxation of Social Security Benefits Received

5. Okay, great I am receiving U.S. Social Security payments but am living outside the United States. How are these U.S. Social Security payments taxed by the United States and/or my country of residence?

In general:

In Canada:

6. How much U.S. Social Security do I receive anyway? I have heard that there is a “Windfall elimination provision”. Is that true?

Yes it is.

Click to access EN-05-10045.pdf

See here:





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s