Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Collecting U.S. retirement benefits while abroad

dollars.jpgAmerican citizens and other beneficiaries who are eligible to collect social security benefits and planning to live abroad in Greece or another country as temporary or permanent expats can receive payments in accordance with Social Security Administration (SSA) laws.

*Article last updated August 31, 2014. However, answers in ‘Comments’ reflect whatever laws were in effect at the time and/or a specific case.

Do You Qualify?

American citizens and eligible persons of other nations can collect U.S. social security benefits while overseas as long as they qualify and move to a country without restrictions.

1. Go to the SSA website and select Retirement, Disability or SSI from the top or side menus, or contact SSA by phone, to determine if you are eligible. If you are not eligible, stop now.

2. If you are eligible or already receiving payments, read about “Receiving benefits outside the United States” and use the SSA Eligibility Tool, “Payments outside the United States,” to ensure there are no restrictions on the country of interest before moving outside U.S. territory.

3. Whether you are permanently or temporarily abroad, it is recommended that you arrange direct deposit of benefits to a reliable overseas or U.S. financial institution and utilize any services offered online (change of address, forms, etc.). See, “Direct deposit for foreign beneficiaries” or the PDF file called “Your Payments While Outside the United States.”

4. Questionnaires sent every year to determine continued eligibility must be answered truthfully and returned within 45 days, or payments will stop. Giving false information or failure to report any changes in your status will incur penalties and/or result in imprisonment under U.S. law.

5. If payments stop, sending the form late will restart them and pay everything owed in a lump-sum payment, then resume monthly.

6. Have a question or concern? Persons outside the United States can:
a) visit the ‘Foreign’ FAQ to see if your question is answered online;
b) contact the SSA directly, which provides foreign-language interpreters; or
c) contact one of many Federal Benefits Units located at U.S. embassies around the world. If you are in Greece, see the next section.

If arriving at this post as an American or U.S. citizen looking to retire in Greece, the first step is to determine whether you can get a permit to reside legally in the country, as explained in “How non-EU citizens can get a visa and permit to live in Greece supported by independent means.” The only way around this is to have dual citizenship with the EU; see “EU citizenship via ancestry or naturalization.”

Should a country other than Greece be of interest, it is essential to investigate residency and/or permit options with the closest embassy or consulate serving that country. Getting advice from a forum or strangers is not recommended.

Social Security Assistance in Greece

If you are in Greece and need help with anything pertaining to social security benefits, the U.S. Embassy in Athens has a Federal Benefits Unit.

Most business can be conducted by phone. Call (210) 720-2426 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and embassy staff speaking Greek and English will be happy to assist you.

There is no Federal Benefits unit at the American Consulate in Thessaloniki.

If you are a U.S. citizen abroad in another country, social security claims, questions and other inquiries can be directed at American Consulates and Embassies. Click “American Embassies & Consulates Worldwide” to find one.

SSI and Medicare

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are supplemental payments that assist the blind, elderly, low income and disabled in paying basic needs. Because they are funded by U.S. taxpayer money and not the Social Security Administration (SSA), these payments stop once the beneficiary leaves America. Please visit “SSI benefits,” if you have further questions.

Likewise, Medicare health insurance terminates once a resident leaves the United States. However, if a U.S. resident will be abroad for an undetermined period and there is a possibility of returning, certain types of coverage can remain in force by not disenrolling immediately. Medicare provides no coverage overseas, but he/she would at least have the option of returning to the United States for treatment and be insured upon his/her move back to America.

Once someone voluntarily leaves the United States, the USA and its taxpayers are not obligated to keep supporting them. They would then be the responsibility of the new country of residence, if laws apply and eligibility is met. Otherwise, you’re on your own, either paying out of pocket or purchasing a private insurance policy.

Non-citizens who worked in the USA

If you are a non-citizen who worked in the United States, you may also qualify to collect benefits if you meet the same eligibility requirements for U.S. citizens. However, there may be additional requirements as determined on a case-by-case basis.

Dependent or survivors of workers collecting benefits

In order to receive the retirement benefits of a worker as a dependent or survivor, you must be a U.S. citizen OR if you are not a U.S. citizen, you must have lived in the United States for 5 years, during which benefits were being paid.

The residency requirement will not apply to you if you meet any of the following conditions:

– You were initially eligible for monthly benefits before January 1, 1985; or

– You are entitled on the record of a worker who died while in the U.S. military service or as a result of a service-connected disease or injury; or

– You are a citizen of: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom; or

– You are a resident of the countries with which the U.S. has a Social Security agreement: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Luxembourg

Have a question?

Check the Foreign FAQ for persons outside the U.S. or thinking of going abroad.

Contact the SSA in the United States or the Federal Benefits Unit of the U.S. embassy nearest your location. There is no international toll-free number.

If your question pertains to SSA and pensions paid in other countries, contact them all.

Taxation questions should be directed to the tax authority in your country, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States, and/or a competent accountant familiar with laws in all relevant countries and cross-country treaties.

Insurance, Medicare and disability questions should be directed to someone at the fund.

There’s no way for me (or any generalist) to access your confidential records, learn thousands of ever-changing tax, insurance and social security laws of every country in the world and how they relate to each other, then apply them to your unique situation based on age, citizenship(s), filing status, coverage and place of residency.

In the News

Collecting Social Security When Abroad” — WSJ

Related posts

Receiving Social Security Benefits While Living Overseas” — SSA
How to get a visa and residence permit for retirement in Greece based on independent means
EU citizenship via ancestry


  EllasDevil wrote @ May 1st, 2007 at 00:47

Mmmm.. is there any way we can get an application in for me.

True, I’m not American. I’ve not lived in America. I’m not of retirement age…


This sounds really cool so I want in on it. Surely someone’s got connections somewhere?

Kat Reply:

ED – Sure, you don’t qualify, but I’m sure your Greek pension will be more than sufficient. ;)

  Vasilios wrote @ June 1st, 2008 at 08:15

I recently called the SSA “800” number on my mother’s behalf (who is a permanent US resident with only Greek citizenship) and was pleased to find out that even by moving back to Greece (and therefore loosing her US residence) she can still receive her SSA income my merely making a change of address.

This in contrast to your article claiming a need to show a continual residence in the U.S.A and or with making appearance(s) to the US embassy.

Thoughts ?

Kat Reply:

V – My thoughts are that you’ve misread the article. Nowhere do I say you must show a continual residence in the USA or appear at the embassy on a regular basis. It says clearly that you can collect while living abroad with no problem at all, even have the payment direct deposited to a bank account, as long as you qualify. You only need to send in periodic questionnaires, which is the reason I also say a person’s address must be up to date.

As I state clearly, I do not represent the SSA, the information was taken directly from the SSA site, and people should consult directly with them to get pertinent information specific to their case.

  Walter wrote @ October 17th, 2008 at 22:55

A very good posting. My wife and I have thought about retiring to western Europe. Your’s is the first article I’ve found with any information for U.S. Social Security receipients other than about settling in mexico. Thanks.

Kat Reply:

W – Hi there! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. As long as you qualify for SS retirement benefits, you’ll have no problem receiving payments via bank transfer or by mail should you decide to retire somewhere in western Europe, since the majority (if not all) countries allow it. Visit the links I’ve provided for more complete information. My article was an informational summary provided for the convenience of my readers.

  M. Helena wrote @ January 3rd, 2009 at 03:45

I would like to know where to go for a previous authorization for montly payment while the applicant is living in South America.

I thought that after the individual has worked/completed the 45 or plus credits, has completed the application, and has been fully qualified that given person did not have to remain in US in order to continue receiving the monthly payment. Am I missing anything in here?

Kat Reply:

MH – That’s true. In the first section, I say that you can collect while abroad if you set it up with them, even have SS payments wired directly to your bank account as long as you’re in a country where that’s not forbidden. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact SSA directly about your case or an American consulate nearest you. There’s a link in the first section that helps you find one, should you not know where to go.

  Teddy wrote @ January 31st, 2009 at 11:57

Great site!

My mother is a dual Greek/American citizen also and is living in the States but want’s to move to Greece. She is getting SSI from the SSA and was told that she cannot receive benefits if moved to Greece. Is that true and if it is do you know of a way to bypass this?

I’m a Greek/American dual citizen and my situation is a bit complicated. I need lots of info and was wondering if you can recommend me to a lawyer who is familiar with expat concerning dual citizens for good solid advises.

Thank you

PS Also, do you know what our rights are as far as buying a used car with foreign EU plates from Greece or from another EU country? And if you know of any foreign plates used car lot in Athens? I used to know of one but closed down.

Kat Reply:

T – Your mother cannot continue receiving these benefits abroad because Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are funded by U.S. taxpayer money, not the Social Security Admin. These are supplemental payments to assist the blind, elderly, low income and disabled in paying basic needs. See “SSI benefits” if you have further questions. Once she voluntarily leaves the United States, the USA and its taxpayers are not obligated to keep supporting her. She would then be in the hands of the Greek state and should apply to Greek authorities for assistance.

SSA retirement benefits — which is the subject of this article — can be received abroad because the recipient or qualifying family member made nearly lifelong contributions to be eligible. Therefore, these are payments funded from their decades of work.

There is really no need for a lawyer with regards to handling bureaucracy, as many hyphenated Greeks do just fine; I’ve also managed fine as an expat for 11 years without one and don’t even have the benefit of being Greek. Many lawyers come to my website for advice and are really only needed when you go to court. I cannot recommend an attorney per my policy in “Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.”

I regret that I do not know of any foreign plates used car lots in Athens. However, if you open the Chrysi Efkairia (, you may find a lead.

  Lily wrote @ April 7th, 2009 at 06:21

My question is about the dual citizen and retirement.

1) Can I stay in the Philippines as long as I want? I have my Auntie and planning to retire and plan to stay in the Philippines. Can she stay in the Philippines as long as she want? Is there any limit years to stay in the Philippines.
2) What will happen to her US SS pension? She’s planning to have a direct deposit on her bank but the question is – is her pension will be continued as long as she want to stay in the Phil.?
3) Is there any taxes required if she will stay permanent in the Phil.?
4) What will happen if she stayed in the Phil. without returning to US and what will happen about her SS pension?

So, my questions are about dual citizen, if she can stay as long as she wants without limits, her SS pension will not stop. if she will permanently in the Phil.

Kat Reply:

Questions #2 and #4 are already answered in the article. The other questions cannot be answered because you didn’t provide enough information for me to help you, plus this website is about Greece not the Philippines. I recommend you contact the Philippine Consulate nearest you, which I believe is:

  lionel wrote @ October 4th, 2009 at 20:31

My wife and I are considering retiring in South Africa, either temporary or semi-permanent or even permanently. We are registered aliens and have resided in the USA since 1971 as a fully employed tax paying non-citizen. We have been receiving Social Security payments since approximately 1995.

We are both on Medicare and understand that once abroad, we will no longer receive any Medicare benefits. My question is, will we continue to receive our monthly Social Security checks no matter how long we are out of the States?

Kat Reply:

You did not provide enough information for me to help you. However, I encourage you to use the links ‘Payments Abroad Screening Tool” or “Your Payments While You are Outside the USAfrom the article,If I leave the U.S., can I continue to receive benefits?” for information specific to your situation.

  Elaine wrote @ February 13th, 2010 at 23:03

I have some one that is 80 years old. has lived in the US for 50 years but was born in Greece. owned a small mechanic shop for a few years. was in the Greek Navy before coming to the states. he wants to go back to Greece to retire and doesn’t know what he does to obtain health insurance. Any guidance would help

Note from Kat: Answered privately.

  Pam wrote @ April 8th, 2010 at 17:48

Would a US citizen and retiree, living in Greece and receiving Social Security Retirement Benefits have to pay taxes to the Greek government?


Kat Reply:

Unfortunately, you did not provide enough information for me to answer your question, as taxation and tax filing involves more than just income and origin. I recommend consulting the SSA website or calling their hotline, where staff can adequately answer your question about double taxation and social security agreements between Greece and the USA.

Also be aware that tax laws are changing, so what applies today may not apply if/when you arrive in Greece.

  Flora wrote @ June 18th, 2010 at 11:32

my husband who is american citizen can apply for an SSA benefits here in the Philippines , even though he marries someone in the United States, what about our children who had an SSN since they were young, are entitle too their fathers compensation.

Kat Reply:

Dependents or survivors of U.S. citizens must determine if they are eligible to receive benefits, since birth alone isn’t enough. Please contact SSA to receive answers specific to your situation.

  Henry wrote @ July 6th, 2010 at 23:08

would like to know about my wife’s benefits

Kat Reply:

Since you’re in Canada, you can find an answer online or contact SSA directly by mail or phone. See “Contact Us.”

  J.B. wrote @ March 25th, 2011 at 23:29

I spend 14 years working in USA (legal permanent resident) and paying all taxes. If I decide to live in the USA, can I get back my social security and medicare money. J.B. Thank you.

Kat Reply:

According to my report, you’re already in the USA. Therefore, I don’t know what you mean by “get back” and don’t understand the question.

Social security contributions go toward your pension/retirement and can be combined with years of contributions made in other countries with bilateral agreements, and payments can be paid out as long as you’re in an eligible country and are eligible for payments. You need to use the links I provide above and consult SS directly, then consult Medicare on your specific situation and desires.

  ron wrote @ May 31st, 2011 at 13:20

Thanks very much for this article.
I’m a green card holder from England and am working in America now – but I want out. It’s good to know that I don’t have to become a US citizen to collect SS retirement money while living (permanently) abroad. So after leaving America, I will lose my permanent resident status and I won’t have to file US tax returns anymore. And if I understand correctly, when I reach retirement age I’ll be able to apply for Social Security payments and still won’t have to file US tax returns or have any other obligations to America. Sounds great! Please correct me if anything I wrote was wrong.
Thank you,

Kat Reply:

Hi Ron,

There was a delay in answering you because I needed to consult someone with several years expertise in handling cross-border cases involving taxes and SS retirement. He gave me permission to relay what he told me to help you.

It’s true that you will not need to file U.S. tax returns when you no longer have U.S. income related to business activities, earned income (as the IRS defines it) from the USA, and are no longer a permanent resident.

However, depending on what country you take up residence, whether it’s your native England or somewhere else, there is typically tax on U.S. social security or pension payments, even if you don’t file a U.S. tax return. In Greece, for example, a flat 30 percent tax is withheld from all U.S. payments, regardless of citizenship or tax filing status in the USA. In other countries, the percentage of withholding tax may be less or even nil, but U.S. social security payments are (under most conditions) still considered taxable income by laws in your country of residence and may be subject to taxation.

IRS publications 519 and 901 can explain most of what you need to know. Click and download at, “Publications and Notices.”

Thank you for your question.

  Dale wrote @ January 5th, 2012 at 10:45

Is VA Disability Compensation taxable income in Greece?

Kat Reply:

You didn’t provide enough information for me to help you. Please see my advice under, “Have a question?” and all best.

  Vladimir wrote @ January 9th, 2012 at 04:50

There is prohibition for receiving SSA payment while living in Russia. But there are exception if I would agree to visit US Embassy monthly and do ti in advance. In advance of what?:
1. Before I start to receive my benefits in USA
2. Before I start to live more than 30 days in Russia
3. Both
Are there any special conditions to get permission/agreement for this exception?

Kat Reply:

Please refer to my advice under, “Have a question?” All best.

  Stamatia wrote @ January 24th, 2012 at 11:41

i am an american citizen age 60 and i want to know about my pention pension benefits now i leave live in greece would you please inform me and give me some details and what ever else you need to know about my social number etc i thank you so much

Kat Reply:

As I say above in the section ‘Social Security Assistance in Greece,’ you need to call the U.S. Embassy in Athens Federal Benefits Unit. Use the information I provided and call them.

  jenn wrote @ February 21st, 2012 at 11:31

Can an American who lives abroad and collects SSDI take dual citizenship and continue to collect SSDI?

Kat Reply:

Continuing to collect SSDI has more to do with one’s medical condition and ability to work, not whether you opt to take dual citizenship. You can contact the federal benefits unit at the American embassy/consulate nearest you in Jordan to confirm and take a look at the dedicated web page

  paul wrote @ March 20th, 2012 at 21:02

I recieve social security disabilaty benefits and workers compensation in NYC. I would like to relocate to greece and live there. Do you forsee an issue in moving to greece and living there?

Kat Reply:

Your question was vague (issue with what?), and you didn’t provide enough information about your background for me to customize an answer.

You need to be an EU citizen or have dual citizenship with the EU in order to move to Greece. Otherwise you need to qualify for a residence permit, as explained in “How non-EU citizens can move and live in Greece.”

If you are a Greek male between the age of 19 and 45, you will be required to serve national service unless qualifying and leaping through bureaucratic hoops to declare an exemption as explained in “Mandatory military service in Greece.”

Regarding social security, see the section ‘Have a question?’ in the article above. Regarding worker’s comp, inquire directly with NY WCB at

Good luck.

  Henriette wrote @ March 25th, 2012 at 15:21

I was a permanent resident in the USA until my retirement. I still pay my taxes in the USA but now I am living in France. Getting old (80) it is getting very difficult for me to travel back as often as I wish.. Every time I go to the USA to visit my family I am subjected to a lot of questions, It is becoming an harrassment. Is the 6 months requirement still on. What can I do? Thank you. HLA

Kat Reply:

Six-month requirement for what? Visa, residency, taxes??? Questions about what?

I’d love to help you, but I’m confused because your comment provides no background and this post is about collecting retirement while abroad.

  Andrew wrote @ April 24th, 2012 at 16:30

I worked in the USA for approximately 4.5 years and paid into the social security system. I am of retiring age. I am a green card holder with a social security number. I was informed sometime ago that I would have to work at least 40 quarters in order to claim a pension or if not would get my money back that I paid in for the 4.5 years. Would I get any money from my American employers if they have a pension scheme. How do I go about getting in touch with the companies that I worked for. Most of the companies were taken over by others and difficult to trace them. Could you help ?

Kat Reply:

Please see my advice under ‘Have a question.’ All best.

  Jose wrote @ July 6th, 2012 at 09:53

I am 53. I am a green card holder lived in America for 32 years worked for 30 years and now live in South Africa will I be able to receive my social security when I am 65 years old but living in South Africa.

Kat Reply:

Please see my answer in the section, “Have a Question?” Thank you.

  F.Alan wrote @ July 6th, 2012 at 23:45

I have lived and worked in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident, Green Card Holder, for 55 years. Life is getting a little expensive in the States and I am considering moving to the Philippines because living is cheaper. Could I still claim my SS and have it paid into my U.S. bank account? Last question, would I still be eligible for Medicare?

Thank you for your help

Kat Reply:

Please see the section, “Have a question?” Thank you.

  susan wrote @ August 1st, 2012 at 17:27

hi we are planning to move to USA from uk because my husband is USA ciziten citizen and works there but my child is autism so is she eligible for ssi or not.

Thank you.

Kat Reply:

There is no way I (or anyone) can help you based on the little information you provided. Please use the link I provide under ‘SSI’ or see the advice I give under “Have a question?” and be prepared to answer detailed questions.

  kiriazhagg wrote @ October 2nd, 2012 at 15:46

hello. i was born in greece but my parents lived for a long time in usa and after they came back to greece they got me a usa passport at expired at 1992, they renewaled it and then expired back at 1997. can you tell me if back then they got me a ssn too? because i want to renewal my passport again and i don’t now if i have one. and if not how can i get one.

ps. sorry if my english aren’t too good!

Kat Reply:

I’m a private citizen, not a representative of the U.S. government. As it says in ‘Have a question?’, you need to contact the SSA directly or the Federal Benefits Unit at the U.S. embassy; your English is fine, but they have multilingual representatives to assist you.

  george wrote @ October 3rd, 2012 at 15:04

Hello– I was born in Greece, served in the navy and came to the usa when I was 36 years old and married an american citizen. I was a permanent resident in the usa for 30 years and paid into the system for that time. I returned to Greece 3 years ago, am now 63 and would like to know if I am able to collect social security but more importantly how would I get healthcare from the usa. I can not get healthcare from Greece because I haven’t paid into the system long enough since I was working 30 years in the usa. Thank you.

Kat Reply:

First, there’s no way I can know if you’re eligible to collect SS benefits based on so little information. Read the first section, ‘Do I qualify?’ and follow the link given, or contact SSA directly. In ‘Social Security Assistance in Greece,’ I also give information on how to contact someone in Athens.

The information can only help you if you help yourself.

Second, as I’ve said to previous commentators with the same question, the United States has no responsibility to extend health insurance to anyone who willingly leaves its borders. The only U.S. insurance with validity in Greece is Tricare for ex-military and their families, and private insurance you purchase yourself. You can also buy health/medical coverage from private insurance companies, banks, etc. in Greece.

  Gust wrote @ February 10th, 2013 at 21:18

Recently an uncle of mine who resides in Greece since 1974 (but a naturalized US citizen) has been granted OGA agricultural retirement benefits and has asked me if he is eligible for a SSA benefits- as he did work here for more than 12 years and paid into the system . Does receiving benefits in a forein foreign country automatically bar one from US benefits. I believe the Greek prohibits benefit accrual if one collects one in the US. Many thanks

Kat Reply:

I can give a general answer, but it wouldn’t necessarily apply. There’s no way I or anyone can accurately answer that question, given so little information. He needs to contact SSA directly, as it says in ‘Have a question?’, and OGA.

  oana wrote @ February 27th, 2013 at 23:23

My father is a green card holder for 25 years, he has worked and paid taxex in US, now he is sick and he wants to go to Romania can he collect social security in Romania if he looses his green card because he can’t came to US every 6 months?

Kat Reply:

There’s no way for me or anyone to answer your question given so little information. As it says in ‘Have a question?’, all questions and inquiries should be directed at the SSA.

  Fotios wrote @ March 4th, 2013 at 00:23

Hi there,
I am a US citizen on social security disability and I get SSI payments. What happens when I reach retirement age and what is considered as such in my case, is it 62 or 66? Is there such a condition that one benefit supplements the other? Thanks.

Easy to say! I spent two hours on the phone last year with a couple of SSA sections and a related agency. The result: you have to create an email account with the SSA first, before you can register to contact them. But you can not register if you live abroad!

Kat Reply:

As it says in ‘Have a question?’, all questions must be directed at SSA for answers specific to your situation.

As it says in the article (twice), Federal Benefit Units at American embassies abroad can assist you. A link to all of them is provided, as well as the phone number and operating hours for Athens.

There’s no way I or anyone can answer the questions you posed based on so little information, unless you want someone to guess and give info that may not apply to your specific case. Therefore, it makes more sense to consult a specialist who is familiar with the law and can access your records.

  malou wrote @ May 15th, 2013 at 09:51

Good day! This is an inquiry of my sister-in-law. Is it possible for her to know if who is the real beneficiary of her husband who is a retired U.S. citizen. Her husband is a US SS pensioner for almost 5yrs now but currently staying in the Philippines. My sister-in-law believe that her husband married someone in the U.S.

Looking forward for your reply.


Kat Reply:

This is a matter of trust and disclosure between your sister-in-law and her husband. It has nothing to do with American social security.

  AJ wrote @ May 25th, 2013 at 04:08


My mother receives a SS check each month. She is a 62 year old widow and lives in Greece. She is an American citizen and would like to know-does she need to claim this income when she files taxes in Greece?

Many thanks

Kat Reply:

There’s no way I or anyone can answer that question based on so little information. Many factors are taken into consideration, and an accountant familiar with Greek and U.S. tax laws must be consulted as it says in section, ‘Have a question?’

  lara garg wrote @ June 12th, 2013 at 03:12

Is there any exception at all so that my mom can continue to receive SSI when living in India ? She is 66, receives food stamps, medicaid and state funded medicare and SSI.

Kat Reply:

In a word, no. Also, as it says in ‘Have a question?’ you can verify my answer by contacting the relevant authorities.

  Viola wrote @ June 13th, 2013 at 01:18


My mother a US Citizen used to get retirement benefits when she was in USA. After my Dad’s demise in the year 2004 she left to India and her Social Security retirement benefits were stopped. My uncle and aunty both US citizens who are residing in India are getting their benefits.

My mom came back to US few days ago. Is she eligible to get her social security amount after 30 days? Is she also eligible to get back her social security amount due from 2004 to till date if applied? Please help me in answering my questions.



Kat Reply:

As it says in ‘Have a question?’ your mother needs to contact them directly and provide much more information than you gave me to receive assistance. All best.

  steven wrote @ July 10th, 2013 at 03:35

Can being a permanent resident of Mexico lose any of my benifits benefits from the United States, i have lived here in Mexico for 10 years and paid the government here every year over 300 dollars for a Visitard permit. now i can apply for a permanent permit and dont have to pay every year for this card., no payment never more.

Kat Reply:

Besides not providing enough information for me to answer your question, I highly recommend contacting SSA directly as it says in section, ‘Have a question?’

  lineth wrote @ September 1st, 2013 at 17:56

my mother-in-law is an american citizen, but unfortunately she died, in she died outside of america, her husband is the survivor is not american citizen nor had an entry to united states, is he qualified to claim on survivor benefit. thanks

Kat Reply:

Please see section, ‘Have a question?’

  vas wrote @ December 27th, 2013 at 05:13

I asked the US embassy in Athens Greece about the SS benefits I will be receiving at the age of 62 based on my contributions. I was told I will be receiving about 350 dollars per month. I worked in USA for 8 years, but I need 10 years of work to be entitled to SS benefits. I have come back to US and worked during 2012 and 2013. I will also work next year to fulfill the 10 year requirement. Based on the SS benefits calculator, my monthly benefits are estimated at 560 dollars. Why did the Greek personnel at the US embassy of Athens Greece give me misleading information about my future SS benefits?

I would also like to touch upon another issue of great concern, regarding the US Embassy in Athens. It seems those Greek people handling SS issues for American citizens never answer the phone, the phone rings and no-one picks it up, till the line gets disconnected. They do not permit US citizens to enter the embassy grounds and ask questions in person about a vital issue like SS benefits and to top it all, they provide erroneous information to US citizens. Why don’t the Americans in charge supervise the work of the Greek personnel in the embassy? I am really stunned, very disappointed by the service and greatly concerned! Could you please be kind enough, if in any way affiliated with Americans living in Greece and working in the US Embassy of Athens to help rectify an unacceptable situation. Your intervention would be highly appreciated. Thank you.

Kat Reply:

Exact calculations can only be made based on looking at all your confidential records. I don’t know what the U.S. embassy staff were looking at, but I do know that the SS calculator states very clearly that it is an estimator (aka, it’s not precise).

I am in no way affiliated with the U.S. embassy. I am a private citizen and assume no responsibility for other people’s actions, only my own. However, you can file a complaint if so inclined. Complaints: U.S. embassy or consulate. They are taken seriously. I know this because I filed one of my own.

  farah wrote @ January 10th, 2014 at 18:17


This article is all about American applicants who are interested to move to Greece, how about Canadians?

Is there anything to refer to for Canadian citizens?



Kat Reply:

Actually, it’s not all about American applicants. As the title states, the article pertains to U.S. retirement benefits and how anyone (all nationalities) entitled to receive them can collect while living abroad.

If you’re inquiring about being Canadian and moving to Greece, see “How non-EU citizens can get a permit to move, live and work in Greece.” Rules are the same for all non-EU citizens.

If you’re inquiring about collecting Canadian pension benefits while living abroad, see GC’s “Living outside Canada.”

  Linda wrote @ February 14th, 2014 at 00:48

My friend has a dual UK / USA citizenship . She has worked and lived in the USA for 20 years. Due to a bad illness she cannot work and is currently recieving Disability Benefits every month.

She has friends /family in Greece and was thinking she might like to go there and live. Maybe not permanetly but say 3-6 months. Can she still get her Disability Benefits if only away for 3-6months and then comes back within a certain timeframe if there is any. Or if she did decide to move there permenently would she still be able to get her disability benefits and are these benefits called SSI.

Also what is the retirement age for a woman born in December 1953 and does her disablity benefits she gets now turn into retirement benefits once she reaches retirement age. She is 60 years old now . If she was then receiving retirement benefits and wanted to move to Greece would she be allowed to receive her retirement benfits un that country.
Thank you

Kat Reply:

Please see advice in section ‘Have a question?’ of the article above. All best.

  Ilene wrote @ March 13th, 2014 at 22:25

Thank you, i am a spouse of an expat living in China and my ss benefits were suspended because I did not complete a form that was mailed to me. It takes 6 + weeks to get mail here. Is there a way they can email me the form so i can complete it? I am told the closest embassy is in the Philippines, has anyone looked at a map? What can I do?

Kat Reply:

As it says in ‘Have a question?’ above, you need to contact SSA or the embassy directly. I’m an American citizen running this website in my unpaid spare time and do not have authority to assist you.

  Vladi wrote @ May 23rd, 2014 at 16:42

I am a French citizen, a green card holder working in US since 25 years. I plan to retire and move to France. Question: how my US social security benefits of about $24.000/year will be taxed by IRS? Is it correct to say that I will pay 30% tax on 85% of the SS benefits ? Or there will be some further US income taxes on my ss benefits? I am not talking about French taxes which I can figure out myself.

Kat Reply:

Please see section ‘Have a question?’ in the article above. Wishing you all the best.

  alex wrote @ June 27th, 2014 at 15:56

I am Us military retiree and have relocate prime/ relocate for life medical insurance once I decide to live in Greece and visit a Doctor will THEY accept my insurance?

Kat Reply:

Who is “they”? Greece? Assuming you have Tricare, only certain hospitals and doctors accept this. Contact USMRAG for more information.

  RD wrote @ July 6th, 2014 at 19:18

Q, is guam a part of SSI/SSA im vet,im 60yrs age,i would be most grateful for any info on this i was disabled in 2011 i had to wait on medicare im now on medicare,

Kat Reply:

Please see section, “Have a question.” All best.

  Patrick wrote @ August 20th, 2014 at 13:33

Q, I live in Austria and applied for ssd in feb. the examiner told me he would put my claim on fast track. It has been 6 months and no answer! I called him yesterday and he said it was in translation and to call back in Oct. How long can this take? Thank you Patrick

Kat Reply:

As it says in section, ‘Have a question?’ you need to consult them directly. Each case and any related circumstances are uniquely different, so there’s no way I (or anyone) can present you with an average. All best.

  monir wrote @ September 29th, 2014 at 17:06

My social security retirement pension is directly being deposited in a us bank. If i move to Pakistan to live there what will i have to do to continue receiving my pension.

Kat Reply:

Read #4 and see section ‘Have a question?’

  Bev wrote @ October 2nd, 2014 at 14:29

Hi. My mom who is 83 is an American citizen but has lived in South Africa most of her life. She doesn’t have South African citizenship. Does she qualify for a US pension? She did work in Pittson for a short period around 1969 – 1970 as our family stayed there for around a year to a year and a half.

I would appreciate a reply to my question sent 2nd Oct at 14:29.
“My mom who is 83 is an American citizen but has lived in South Africa most of her life. She doesn’t have South African citizenship. Does she qualify for a US pension? She did work in Pittston for a short period around 1969 – 1970 as our family stayed there for around a year to a year and a half.

Kat Reply:

See #1 in section ‘Do You Qualify?’ and also section ‘Have a question?’

On the front page of this website, my obligations are clearly stated under ‘Have a Question?’ and Comments, Questions and Contacting Me.

To receive a pension, someone needs to work a minimum number of years and pay into the fund. Common sense tells me that one year equals zero.

  ioannis wrote @ October 15th, 2014 at 03:55

i am totally disabled and receiving workmans compensation benefits since 2004 if i move to greece can i still receive my benefits?

i am receiing workmans compemsation benefits since 2004. i am 59 years old and i have to move to greece . can i still receie myy payments ??what about my insuranse?
please help me

Kat Reply:

There’s no way I (or anyone) can answer that question with absolutely no background info. Workmen’s compensation laws differ by state, by fund and by case. You need to inquire with whoever pays your benefits.

As I said previously, more detailed information about your case, your state’s laws and the fund’s policies is necessary. You need to inquire with the fund paying your benefits. Regarding insurance, see sections ‘SSI and Medicare’ and ‘Have a question?’

  Neil wrote @ October 20th, 2014 at 19:38

My mother has been living in the US for the past 37 years now and has been paying into a pension scheme. She is a US resident but not a US citizen, meaning she has not pledged her allegiance etc to the US. She has decided that she’d like to move back to the UK (she is a UK resident and was born here). Is she entitled to her pension or does she have to apply to become a citizen before leaving to live in the UK? I find it hard that someone has been contributing this money would somehow be denied it upon her not being a citizen but a resident regardless.

Would appreciate your help and information,



Kat Reply:

Please see info under ‘Non-citizens who worked in the USA’ and also section ‘Have a question?’ to understand why I cannot answer this question and recommendations on who to contact.

  Ruth wrote @ February 7th, 2015 at 07:35

I have been receiving my social security benefits deposited into my USA XXXXXXX account.

For tax purposes I need to get the previous year 1099 form (I do have this financial year).

I was unable to create an account online as it does not have overseas boxes to tick.
my social security no: XXX XX XXXX
XXX Hill NSW 2023

Kat Reply:

Hi there. As it says in section ‘Have a Question?’, you need to get in touch with a U.S. Embassy or contact SSA directly. I’m a private citizen offering assistance on Greece in my unpaid time and can’t help you.

For security reasons, I deleted your private information and highly recommend you NEVER leave sensitive information such as an SSN, driver’s license number or credit card number on the Internet. People can steal your info and identity.

  Sam wrote @ February 28th, 2015 at 02:24

I lived and worked in USA as a permanent resident(Green Card) between 1987-2011. I paid all federal taxes including Social Security and Medicare. Because of my business interest, I gave up my permanent visa and returned to Korea. My wife is a naturalized US citizen and we are still married but she is still living in USA. She had never been gainfully employed herself and never paid any Social Security nor Medicare tax for herself. We always filed Joint Income tax return.

Question is. Is my wife eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefit as my spouse when she reaches 65? She will be living in USA as a naturalized citizen? Am I eligible if I stayed in Korea?

Kat Reply:

Hi there. As it says in section ‘Have a question,’ you need to contact SSA or the nearest U.S. embassy to inquire.

I don’t represent the U.S. government, and there’s no way I (or anyone) can answer your questions based on so little information. All best.

  Lise wrote @ April 3rd, 2015 at 19:35

Hi, I need help we are not u.s citizen but my baby is,she has rett syndrome, my husband was a student in u.s,but now we are in Canada,she was receiving ssi, but as we moved to Canada there is not financial assistance for her because she not a Canadian citizen ,we need to buy her medication,I mean everything and we have low income. while here in Canada her ssi was still coming because we can not use the master cart here we were doing shopping online and ask our cousin to send it to us,now they stop the service and I don’t know what to do.Can you please help me how to get assistance while we are in Canada?

Kat Reply:

Please see the section ‘Have a question’ for next steps. I’m a private citizen running this site about Greece (not the U.S. or Canada) in my unpaid free time. Thanks! :)

  Robert wrote @ April 7th, 2015 at 04:22

I am 76 years old live in Philippines but intend to move back to U.S. this June or July because of my health issues. I have a social security account at BDO bank in the Philippines but want to change my social security account to ____ where I get my pension or else use the ___ without a bank. The question is how do I do this?

Kat Reply:

Please refer to the section ‘Have a question’ and get in contact with a U.S. Embassy consular section or call America during business hours. As I told the person just above you, I’m a private citizen running a site about Greece (thus, in my unpaid spare time.

I deleted your private information and warn you to never leave sensitive details on a website, where someone (not as nice as me) might attempt to steal your identity or impersonate you.

  Lilian wrote @ April 23rd, 2015 at 17:08

I live in Nashville tn from 1975 to 1980 and work iam 64 and now iam living back in the UK do you know if l well get a pension

Kat Reply:

In order to receive a pension, you need to pay into social security for decades, not 5 years. If you want an answer specific to your case, please see advice in section ‘Have a Question?’

*If people keep ignoring the Have a Question section, I’ll permanently close this post to comments.

  Casey wrote @ June 27th, 2015 at 19:22

My friend is a U.S. citizen living in Canada, who will be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. In the event, she acquires Canadian citizenship and renounces her U.S. citizenship, will she continue receiving her social security benefits?

Kat Reply:

Please see advice in section ‘Have a Question?’

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