Frequently Asked Questions
I did not get my Benefit Payment this month. What should I do?
If you have received correspondence from SSA please read it carefully. It may contain important information on suspension of your benefits. Otherwise, please follow the instructions on our Reporting Changes and requesting Post Entitlement Actions section.
What is the minimum period of work required to become eligible for U.S. benefits?
It differs depending on the type of benefits you want to apply for. The minimum number of U.S. credits required for benefits based on combined periods of coverage in the U.S. and a foreign country is six. Please refer to the Benefits section for more information.
When I live outside the U.S. can I continue to receive my benefits to my bank account in the U.S.?
What is my retirement age?
I received a letter or a form but I don't understand it. Who can help me?
If the letter or form is in English and there is no translation provided please ask someone who speaks English to help you translate it. In complex matters if you do not understand, it you can request assistance of the Federal Benefits Unit but please bear in mind that we do not routinely provide translation services.
Will my foreign pension or any other pension affect the amount of my U.S. benefits?
If you receive retirement benefits based on your own work in the U.S. and neither your U.S. nor the other benefits were based on combined periods of work in both countries, such retirement benefit will affect the amount you are getting from SSA. Please make sure you inform the Federal Benefits Unit immediately once you are awarded other benefits to avoid possible overpayment of U.S. benefits. Please follow the guidelines in the Reporting Changes section.
How can I determine if I pay premiums for Medicare Part B and if I do how can I request termination?
Please check the entries on your Medicare insurance card. If both Part A and Part B are listed it means that the monthly premiums may be deducted from your SSA benefits. If you want to have Part B insurance terminated you can request it by filling out the form CMS-1763 (PDF 6 KB) and send it to the Federal Benefits Unit. Please note that Medicare insurance Part A (hospital insurance) is free of charge.
Can I get Retirement Benefits and still work in outside the U.S,?
Yes, but your work can affect your right to benefit payments. If you are below full retirement age and engage in self-employment or work for a non-U.S. employer for more than 45 hours you may not be eligible for payments. Please go here (PDF 428 KB) to read more about it.
I applied for Reduced Benefits before my full retirement age. Will my benefits increase once I reach my full retirement age?
No. Your benefits will remain reduced.
I do not have a bank account. Will I still be able to receive my benefits in outside the U.S.?
Yes. Although SSA promotes electronic fund transfer to bank accounts, it is still possible to receive benefits in a form of a paper check delivered to your mailing address overseas. Please bear in mind, however, that not all banks will cash your checks.
What is the minimum amount of Retirement Benefits?
There is no minimum amount. It depends on the number of years you or your family member worked in the U.S., the amounts of taxed earnings in each year and your age.
POLAND ONLY: Is my SSA Benefit taxable in Poland?
POLAND ONLY: Do I have to pay a premium for the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ)?
POLAND ONLY: How long will I wait for the decision on my Social Security Benefits based on the combined periods of work in the U.S. and Poland?
It depends on when the Polish agency (ZUS or KRUS) provides us with the certification of the periods of insurance in Poland. It usually takes from 2 up to 12 months.