American Social Security Benefits Abroad- Travel Tips

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General Travel Advice

American Social Security Benefits Abroad

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In 1903, with U.S. backing, Panama seceded from Colombia. Immediately after the succession from Colombia, Panama promptly signed a treaty with the U.S. allowing for construction of the Panama Canal. Along with this, the agreement gave the U.S. sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the canal, known as the Panama Canal Zone. Now, the Panama Canal Zone is just Panama, no longer an American territory but still Americans flock there for retirement. Here is why they go there.

Why Americans Retire Abroad

Panama is inexpensive. The simple answer to why Americans retire abroad is because their money goes further. People retire abroad, specifically to the Panama because its close to the US so it is easy to get back to the states. The weather is warm. Americans retirees live in Panama because it is cheaper than living in the U.S.A.

Social Security and Medicare for American

Most Americans find the single biggest retirement expense as they age are medical costs. The second largest expense for retirees is housing. Therefore, when a travel location has affordable housing and access to Social Security and Medicare benefits, it is a retirement bonanza. Next, add a warm climate, good food, and relaxed tropical lifestyle, and it is nirvana.

Why Pick Retirement in The Panama Canal Zone?

The Panama Canal Zone is one of the places for retirees to use their entitlement benefits. So, the Panama Canal Zone is a cheap alternative to the high cost of living in the U.S.A. Plus, add in the large English-speaking expat community, and life just got better. I think, it isn’t the prettiest place on earth. But, it is inexpensive, food is abundant, and the lifestyle is relaxed and tropical and they have excellent medical facilities. An American Territory, that lets you live cheaply with your entitlement benefits. So, check out your benefits for any recent changes.

How to Plan Overseas Retirement and Travel

Social Security outside of the U.S.A is tricky. Learn how living outside the United States affects your benefits by using this Payments Abroad Screening Tool. By answering a few short questions, you learn about your Social Security payments. The SSA Web site provides information and resources on its International Programs home page for retirees moving outside of the United States.

Social Security for American Expats and Retirement Abroad

Social Security Payments while you are outside of the U.S.A.

Getting social Security while living overseas

Retirement or extended travel overseas while receiving benefits is complicated.

Check out this publication, Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States. The brochure explains in detail restrictions that apply to citizens located in specific countries. The SSA Web site also offers beneficiaries a payment screening tool. The tool explains the entitlement benefits if you are living outside the U.S. for more than six months.

Retirees may have their checks directly deposited into a bank account in the United States. Direct deposit is available in some countries as well. Using direct deposit avoids check-cashing and currency-conversion fees.

In countries with a large U.S. retiree populations, American embassies and consulates have trained individuals to provide Social Security services. They even take applications. The countries with these services are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Korea, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Yemen. Individuals in other countries need to contact the SSA in writing or by phone. For a list of phone numbers, visit the SSA’s Web page

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, and from City University, Seattle, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour foods.