Social Security travels too |

Social Security travels too

Have you ever considered a visit abroad? Or maybe you’re planning to live overseas for an extended period of time. Whether you’re outside the country for a week or a decade, you may be unaware of how to reach Social Security in the event that you need to conduct business with us while you’re away. Fortunately, in most corners of the world you can get help from a federal benefit officer or other trained personnel.

The Department of State embassies and American consulates abroad have personnel who are specially trained to provide a full range of Social Security services, including taking applications for all types of benefits, processing applications for new or replacement Social Security cards, and an array of other Social Security business.

Americans in American Samoa, British Virgin Islands, Canada and Puerto Rico may obtain services directly from Social Security field offices located there. In other territories or countries, contact your local embassy or consulate to find out which office to visit for your Social Security needs.

But before visiting or moving abroad, remember that the most convenient office may be in your own home. Social Security’s Web site is a valuable resource for information. There are a number of services and forms offered to people living outside the United States on our international operations site. You can find it at While you’re online, you can read more about our international services. Another helpful reference on moving out of the country is the online publication Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States, which is available at

You also may want to visit our International Programs Web site, where you can learn about International Agreements between Social Security systems, payments while you are outside the United States, and the Social Security systems of other nations. Just visit

If you don’t have a computer or prefer to do business over the phone, you’re always welcome to call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you are in a foreign country, you will need to pay for the call because we do not offer toll-free service for calls from outside the U.S. If you call, please do so during normal business hours for the U.S. Eastern Standard time.

Fortunately, in most corners of the world you can get help from a federal benefit officer or other specially trained personnel. If you’re leaving the United States for any period of time, don’t think you’ll have to leave Social Security behind too. Social Security will travel with you.

kathy petersen is the public affairs specialist for south dakota and eastern wyoming. you can write her c/o social security administration, 605 main, suite 201, rapid city, sd, 57701 or via e-mail at kathy. check back next week to learn how you can receive benefits via direct deposit.

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