For those unable to work at their job, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can provide monetary benefits monthly. This government program overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be challenging to cope with and its rules and regulations can seem overwhelming. If you prefer to live outside of the US, you may still be able to get SSDI benefits. Read on and learn what citizenship and your country of residence have to do with your SSDI benefits.
The Key to Benefits
SSDI is based on past work history. Once you apply, the SSA evaluates your most recent several years of work and the income earned during that time. That computes into what the SSA calls "work credits" and you must have a minimum number to qualify. The next step is to verify that the applicant has been unable to work due to a medical or mental condition for a certain period of time. Proof of this condition is important.
What to Know About Citizenship
When it comes to qualifying for SSDI, citizenship is not a requirement. If you otherwise qualify and have paid into the FICA system, you don't have to be a citizen of the US to be paid benefits. Additionally, if you were previously a citizen of the US but changed your citizen status to another country, you may still qualify for SSDI benefits unless otherwise prohibited. If you are a citizen (or become a citizen) of a couple of countries that are not friendly with the US (such as Cuba and North Korea), however, you may not qualify for SSDI benefits.
Out of the Country
You also don't have to reside in the US while collecting SSDI. You do, however, have to live here when you first apply for benefits and until you are approved for them. There are a few exceptions to this regulation. In Cuba and North Korea payments won't be approved, sent, or accrued. In eight countries, SSDI payments may not be sent but they do accrue for later withdrawal. In the remainder of countries outside the US, payments may be sent, deposited, or accrued.
Some Notable Exceptions
Some citizens and non-citizens have a status that allows them to collect SSDI just like someone residing in the US. That includes members of the diplomatic corp, federal employees at any location outside the US, and members of the military (and their family members).
As you can see, the rules can seem pretty confusing and it may be all too easy to make a mistake when trying to be approved for benefits or thereafter. If you are encountering any problems with applying for and receiving your benefits, talk to services like Attorney John B. Martin Law Offices about appealing any adverse actions and get the benefits you deserve.