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US citizen with UK spouse retiring abroad
Old 04-19-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
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US citizen with UK spouse retiring abroad

My wife and I have lived in the US for the past 37 years and both of us have worked full time during most of that time. We are approaching 60 and now plan to retire abroad for most or part of the year. My UK spouse is concerned that if she does not apply for US social security until 5 years or so after we move out of the US and she stops working in the US, that she would not be eligible for US SSA benefits even if we were to return to the US after she turns 65. I understand that she can't qualify if she doesn't reside in the US for at least 6 months of the year, but in the meantime, is her absence from the US for some period going to disqualify her from receiving benefits even though she has worked here and contributed to the system for 37 years?

Any personal experiences or insight would be appreciated.

TIA
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rfking View Post
I understand that she can't qualify if she doesn't reside in the US for at least 6 months of the year, but in the meantime, is her absence from the US for some period going to disqualify her from receiving benefits even though she has worked here and contributed to the system for 37 years?
TIA
Check this very carefully. I don't think there is any requirement to live in the US to draw SS.
Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States

There are some details, but they do not apply to UK citizens.
and
Your Payments While You Are Outside The United States

Medicare only pays within the US, but I think (but am not sure) that you could live anywhere you wanted and show up for your heart surgery, as long as you paid the premiums.

ha
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:16 PM   #3
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Thanks for the help. I'm pretty much convinced that we should not have a problem because UK citizens appear to be exempt from the general rule that non citizen SS receipents (workers, not spouses or children) must be "lawfully resident" in the US (6 months out of the year) in order to collect benefits.

I would still love to hear from someone (a UK citizen) who has worked in the US for a lifetime and is now lives abroad - but still collects his or her Social Security.

Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:47 PM   #4
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Here's my understanding...I'm a US citizen semi-retired in Canada. I believe that the only requirement to collect US Social Security is having 40 quarters of earnings in the US and the associated contributions into the SS system.

Many countries have an 'totalization' agreement btw the US and their own social security system. In Canada, it's the Canada Pension Plan. As I work here part-time in Canada, I'm contributing to the CPP based on my wages. When I start to draw US Social Security benefits, I can't 'double-dip' and collect CPP too.

The totalization agreement will, however, look at the years I've contributed to CPP and 'count' those contributions towards figuring my Social Security benefit. This will help me, because when I left the US at age 50, I did not have the full 35 years of earnings to max out my eventual Soc. Sec. draw.

I imagine the U.K. would have a similar agreement.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:29 PM   #5
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Great info - feeling better about FIRE all the time!

Still looking for some feedback from a UK citizen!

I grew up in Italy as a child and it still seems like "home" to me - even after all these years. We spend a couple of weeks there during the year, but are serious about moving in 2010 at this point.
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Old 04-20-2009, 11:09 PM   #6
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I see the UK is listed here, as I suspected:

U.S. International Social Security Agreements

Shoot...now that I actually read it, the CPP credits I earn won't count in the US system, since I already have enough credits to qualify for benefits. Sometimes ya gotta read the actual documents, and not rely on hearsay from the Internets.
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:01 AM   #7
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Sometimes ya gotta read the actual documents, and not rely on hearsay from the Internets.
Now that is a radical thought!

Ha
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:31 AM   #8
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Give this site a read, and I'm sure if you ask there you will find some people in a similar boat as you. Also has extensive info on the whole immigration/citizenship/permanent resident aspect.

British Expat Discussion Forum
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:05 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by se012101 View Post
Give this site a read, and I'm sure if you ask there you will find some people in a similar boat as you. Also has extensive info on the whole immigration/citizenship/permanent resident aspect.

British Expat Discussion Forum
Great site - thanks very much
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