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Can I collect American social security if I live in Israel?

Can I collect American social security if I live in Israel?

Written by: Samara Becker

American social security acts as a source of income for people who do not work due to a disability, due to being retired, who had a spouse who died, or who don’t make an adequate amount of money to live. Over 72% of initial social security applications are denied. The application for American social security is somewhat hard to get right, making people who do qualify wary of doing anything that will make them lose their social security. One possible disqualifying condition – Do you have to live in America to collect social security?

The answer is complicated and depends on your status as a US citizen \ green card holder as well as your place of residence \ citizenship abroad.

How does one apply for American social security payments?

         For an American citizen, there are many ways to apply for social security benefits. You can apply online, call the national line, or visit the local social security office closest to you. There are many online resources that help you check your eligibility. As a noncitizen wanting to apply for social security benefits, you first need a social security number. To obtain one, you need to work, which is authorized by the US Department of Homeland Security. You can either apply for a SSN in your home country before you come, or once you enter the US. Once this step is completed, you then must prove your identity and work-authorized immigration status.

Not a simple yes or no answer

         The key to receiving social security is citizenship. Being a US citizen, or a citizen of another country will determine whether or not you can collect social security while living outside of America. If you are a citizen of the US, your answer is simple: you can collect your social security payments outside of the US as long as you meet the criteria to receive the payments in the first place. Because of this rule, if you are a US citizen living in Israel, you will be able to receive your payments while across the world.

What if you are not a citizen of the “land of the free”?

         As a green card holder who is not a US citizen, things start to get a little tricky. As the rule of thumb, after 6 months of not living in America as a non-citizen, your social security payments will come to a stop. There are exceptions to the rule, depending on what country you are a citizen of, and for people who fall under this category, payments may still be given. For most cases where exceptions do not apply, those who are not citizens of the US wishing to receive their social security payments return to the US and live there for at least a full calendar month (from the first to the last minute of the month).

Do Israeli citizens qualify for an exemption?

         Yes! Israel is on a list of 29 countries that allow for social security payments to continue, no matter how ling a person is outside of the US. Of course, this only applies for Israeli citizens who are eligible for social security payments in the first place. Along with Israel, countries such as Canada, Hungary, Portugal and France are also on the list of exemptions.

Asking for legal assistance in a complicated process

         As a non-US citizen, receiving your social security benefits may become a tedious process, with many forms and red tape to go through. By hiring an experienced lawyer, one can ensure they are completing all of the necessary forms and documents, while receiving their social security benefits in a timely manner. Visit the website of knowledgeable immigration law firm Joshua Pex to answer all important questions and provide assistance.