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MEXLAW > MexLaw  > Do I Qualify for Social Security If I Retire in Mexico?

Do I Qualify for Social Security If I Retire in Mexico?

As the number of U.S. citizens applying for residency in Mexico continues to increase substantially, one of the concerns we hear is regarding social security, disability and survivor benefits originating from the U.S. Considering that a monthly social security payment will provide a higher quality of life in Mexico compared to the US, the fear of losing this benefit is understandable.

If I retire in Mexico will I lose my social security?
No, U.S. citizens can collect social security in Mexico. There are a few countries the U.S. will not send benefits to and your payments are withheld until you return to the US, but Mexico is not one of them.

How will I receive my social security?
Either through direct deposit in your U.S. bank and withdraw it in Mexico or set up direct deposit to a Mexican bank once you are settled. It is best to avoid receiving cheques in the mail due to loss and theft.

Are U.S. citizens expected to return to the US every few months?
No, there is no requirement to visit the U.S. in order to qualify for your social security.

Am I required to pay income tax in the U.S. if I reside in Mexico?
Yes, as a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S., you are subject to U.S. income tax laws regardless of what country you reside. Your worldwide income and up to 85 percent of the social security benefits you receive, may be subject to federal income tax.

As a widow of a military spouse I am currently eligible for social security based on my deceased spouse’s employment. Am I still able to collect social security benefits from Mexico?
Yes, as long as your spouse died while in U.S. military service or as a result of a service-connected disability, provided they were not dishonorably discharged.

Do I need to update social security while I am living in Mexico?
Yes, it is mandatory you report any change in your circumstances which could affect your payment, including:

1. Change of address.
2. Employment outside the U.S.
3. Disability recipients must report any improvements or return to work.
4. Change in marital status.
5. Adoption of a child.
6. A dependent child moves out.
7. A child is approaching 18 disabled or attending school full time.
8.  Death
9.  Unable to manage finances.
10.Deportation or removal from the U.S.
12. Eligibility for a pension from employment not covered by social security.

Failure to update the U.S. Government may result in an overpayment. They will demand repayment and possibly cancel your benefits.

How long can I live outside of the U.S. without affecting my U.S. Citizenship?
There is no limit – residency and citizenship are two different things. You can always move back to the U.S.  In order to become a non-citizen of the U.S., you will need to renounce your citizenship formally.

For more information visit www.socialsecurity.gov.