Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay
Courtesy: Social Security Administration

There are a number of people who choose to live their retirement years in places outside of the United States. Perhaps retirement in Thailand or Portugal is in your plans. Or, maybe you plan to split your year between Central Europe and Central Asia. In many cases, it’s still possible to receive your retirement benefits while living abroad. Our website can help you navigate your benefit eligibility while living overseas.

If you’ve worked in both the United States and another country, it may be possible to combine your credits for a larger benefit. Currently, there are 25 countries with such international agreements with the United States. To find out if you have qualifying work in a country with such an agreement, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/

You can receive benefits in many countries. To find out whether you can receive your benefits in the country where you are retiring, use our Payments Abroad Screening Tool at

If you live overseas, there are easy ways to get in touch with us and report changes to Social Security. You can contact your local U.S. embassy, write to us by mail or call us at 1-800-772-1213. You can find other information regarding living overseas at www.socialsecurity.gov/foreign.

Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.


Question:  Do members of Congress have to pay into Social Security?

Answer:  Yes, they do. Members of Congress, the president and vice president, federal judges and most political appointees have paid taxes into the Social Security program since January 1984. They pay into the system just like everyone else, no matter how long they have been in office. Learn more about Social Security benefits at www.social


Question:  What is the average Social Security retirement payment that a person receives each month?

Answer:  The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2016 was $1,341 (up from $1,328 in 2015). The average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2016 was $1,166 (up from $1,165 in 2015). As a reminder, eligibility for retirement benefits still requires 40 credits (usually about 10 years of work). The Social Security Act details how the COLA is calculated. You can read more about the COLA at


Question:  I recently retired and am approaching the age when I can start receiving Medicare. What is the monthly premium for Medicare Part B?

Answer:  The standard Medicare Part B premium for medical insurance is currently $121.80 per month. Since 2007, some people with higher incomes must pay a higher monthly premium for their Medicare coverage. You can get details at www.medicare.gov or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY 1-877-486-2048).


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