Social Security abroad as a non resident

Reply Fri 4 Apr, 2014 05:46 pm
I use to live in in the states from 1960 to 1991, through out my adult hood I worked and paid SS. I was a legal resident with a French citizenship. Now that I live abroad will I be entilted to a SS payout at retirement age? I am not a US citizen.
Lustig Andrei
Reply Fri 4 Apr, 2014 08:22 pm
I would contact the Social Security Admin. to verify this, but, to the best of my understanding, if you paid into the SS system while a resident of the USA you are entitled to retirement benefits when you reach age 65 regardless of your citizenship or current place of residence. But double-check that.
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Peter Frouman
Reply Fri 4 Apr, 2014 08:37 pm
If you have at least 10 years (40 credits) of work in the U.S., you should be able to qualify for and receive U.S. Social Security retirement benefits. However, it's a bit more complicated since you are a French citizen not residing in the the U.S. and not a U.S. citizen. The U.S. does have a totalization agreememnt with France which may help you get either U.S. Social Security retirement benefits or a French pension.

I suggest you contact the Social Security Administration to determine what benefits you are eligible for and how to get them. The following links may have some useful info and if there is something you can't figure out you may want to ask Laurence Kotlikoff who is a Social Security expert and writes an advice column to answer questions about Social Security benefits.

Social Security: Totalization Agreement with France

Congressional Research Service - Social Security Benefits for Noncitizens: Current Policy and Legislation (May 11, 2005)

Social Security: Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2014 08:48 am
Thanks so much everyone
0 Replies
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2014 09:27 am
@Peter Frouman,
Are there servives(private)that can do the investigating for you? I think it would take ages before a goverment answer would come, and if it did it might be followed by a question which you answer and it take the same amount of time for a reply, I have written to the SS department weeks ago, but the mail I got for a reply was replies are answered in the (wait in line) since they are swamped in mail daily.
Peter Frouman
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2014 10:18 am
I'm not aware of any companies providing that type of service but surely they must exist. You could hire a U.S. attorney with experience representing Social Security benefit recipients/claimants although most of them deal with disability claims where having an attorney is actually necessary or advisable and, most importantly, cases in which Social Security will reimburse all or part of their fees.

You could also hire some sort of personal assistant who could do research and contact Social Security on your behalf although SSA probably won't provide any specific personal information without some sort of authorization (power of attorney?) that is acceptable to them.

I'm not sure that would necessarily be faster than doing it yourself using their online services or calling or writing them.

A good first step would be to request a copy of your Social Security statement which will have your earnings record and estimated benefit amounts. You should be able to do that online at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2014 11:57 am
@Peter Frouman,
Cannot use the last link, I do not have a address there now
Reply Sun 6 Apr, 2014 11:22 am
From another source

You're a non-US citizen, who is currently also a non US resident. This website is wonderfully clear (it can take some effort wading through the SSAs brochures!).


Now we'll look at the important bit as it applies to you.

Q: Do you lose your Social Security if you abandon your green card (permanent resident) status or renounce US citizenship?

A: Once you have renounced US cotizenship, you become a non-resident alien (NRA), and the rules for NRAs apply. While it is your responsibility to notify authorities of your changed status, this is generally asked in the questionnaire that Social Security beneficiaries have to submit annually.

As an NRA, it depends on your place of residence whether you can continue to collect Social Security in the long run. Depending on a combination of US bilateral agreements (or lack thereof), the your current citizenship, and your country of residence, it can range from only a minor tax difference to having Social Security payments discontinued after more than six months outside the US.

If you have not been in the United States at any time during the six calendar months before your first month of entitlement, then to get your benefits started you must come to the United States and stay every hour of a full calendar month. For example, if you came to the United States on April 24, you could not leave the United States before June 1. This means that you would be present in the United States the entire month of May.

After you complete this visit for a full calendar month, there are two ways to continue receiving benefits. You can choose one or the other:

• You must spend any part of one day in the United States at least once every 30 days or less; or
• If you do not do one-day visits (or if you fail to make a visit in a 30-day time period), then you must come to the United States and stay every hour of 30 consecutive days. For example, if you came to the United States on April 24, you could not leave the United States before May 25. This visit for 30 days must be completed no later than the end of the six-month period that started with your first full calendar month outside the United States.
The part about renouncing citizenship we can ignore - the point of the article is to explain what happens when you're an NRA (non-resident alien). So, we can see there that in order to qualify you have to make some substantial changes to your life because you must be physically present in the US for a certain period.
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2014 01:32 am
From SSS office

To qualify for benefits, noncitizens first must be lawfully present in this country and must meet the same eligibility requirements as U.S. citizens. The law requires that anyone living in the United States who applies for Social Security benefits on or after December 1, 1996 must provide evidence that he or she is a U.S. citizen or U.S. national, or an alien lawfully present in the United States as determined by the Attorney General. This law does not affect the following:

-- Social Security benefits for people residing outside the United States ;
-- Social Security benefits for people who applied before December 1, 1996; or
-- Entitlement to the lump sum death payment

A noncitizen worker assigned a Social Security number (SSN) on or after January 1, 2004, must meet another eligibility requirement. If you are subject to this provision, neither you nor your dependents can qualify for benefits based on your earnings unless:

-- At some point, you were assigned an SSN based on your authorization to work in the United States at any time on or after January 1, 2004 or
-- At some point, you were admitted to this country as a nonimmigrant visitor for business (B-1) or as an alien crewman (D-1 or D-2).

Once a noncitizen worker has met eligibility criteria, we must have evidence of the “lawful presence” of the beneficiary. That means that before we can pay out benefits for any given month, Social Security must have evidence that during that month the beneficiary was either:

A U.S. citizen;
A U.S. national; or
Lawfully present in the United States .

For more information, you may call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. Our representatives there will be glad to help you.

If you live outside the United States , see




for information on services in other countries.

If you reside in the United States , you can apply for benefits online at the following Internet address:


You can find more information about whether you can receive benefits abroad as a non-U.S. citizen in the booklet, “Your Payments While You Are outside the United States,” publication number 05-10137, at the Internet address below:

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