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How can I apply for Social Security Disability Insurance if I don’t live in the United States?

Social Security benefits include disability insurance. Can those outside the country still apply for this assistance even if they don’t live in the US?

Estados UnidosUpdate:
El Distrito de Columbia y 38 entidades no gravan los beneficios del Seguro Social. Conoce en cuáles estados no hay que pagar impuestos.
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Every month the Social Security Administration issues millions of payments to beneficiaries of its programs. In addition to retired workers and those who receive Supplemental Security Income payments, other recipients are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

SSDI benefits are for people who have not reached their full retirement age, but because of a disability can no longer engage in “substantial gainful activity”; in other words, work. To be a beneficiary, the person in question must demonstrate that he or she has a severe illness and has received treatment for at least one year, or that there is no cure for what they are suffering from. You will need to provide qualifying employment history to show that you paid the necessary amount to Social Security during your working life.


How can I apply for Social Security Disability Insurance if I don’t live in the United States?

There are three ways to apply for SSDI benefits: online, by phone, or by going directly to Social Security Administration offices. But what if you don’t live in the United States or in any of its territories?

If you meet the following requirements but are not currently in the US, you can try to start the process over the phone or online, since the application takes about six months to be approved. According to the firm Berger and Green, you can receive SSDI benefits if you are abroad and:

- You are a US citizen

- You qualify for disability based on your own work record

- You live in an approved country

- You plan to stay in that country (or another approved country) for six months or less

If you stay out of the country for more than six months, the Social Security Administration will automatically stop payments. It should be noted that the SSA considers any stay outside the US or its territories that lasts more than 30 days as residence outside the country and not just as a visit, so you'll need to report any travel lasting 30 days or more to SSA.

Although a qualified US citizen can continue to receive benefits even while living abroad, there are territories where benefit payments cannot be sent, such as Cuba and North Korea.

Any person who remains outside the country for more than six months and wishes to continue receiving SSDI benefits must present special documentation to the SSA, so we recommend that you contact the agency directly at 800-772- 1213. The SSA reserves the right to request regular visits to the US for eligibility reviews.


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