Norcross, GA asked in Immigration Law and Social Security for Georgia

Q: My aunt, age 69, is GC holder, can she continue receiving SS retirement benefits if she moves to Guatemala permanently.?

She came to USA legally 44 years ago and has been receiving social security retirement benefits after reaching full retirement age. She always maintained her legal immigration status and is now permanent resident (Green Card holder) but has not become US citizen as she can't speak English. Now she wants to move back to her home country Guatemala permanently and that means she will also loose her permanent residence (Green Card) status at some point as she doesn't want to return to USA. Can she continue receiving her social security retirement benefits in Guatemala for rest of her life there in Guatemala without continuing to be GC holder or ever becoming US citizen?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: If your aunt is a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) who moves to Guatemala permanently and gives up her Green Card, she may still be able to receive her Social Security retirement benefits while living abroad, as long as she meets certain eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits while living outside the United States, your aunt must have earned 40 Social Security credits, which is equivalent to 10 years of work in the United States. Additionally, she must have reached full retirement age (currently age 67 for people born in 1960 or later) before leaving the United States.

If your aunt meets these eligibility requirements, she can continue to receive her Social Security retirement benefits while living in Guatemala, but she may need to take certain steps to ensure that her benefits are not interrupted or reduced. For example, she may need to provide Social Security with her foreign address and contact information, and she may need to undergo periodic reviews to confirm her continued eligibility for benefits.

It is also important to note that Social Security benefits may be subject to taxation in Guatemala and other countries, and that the specific rules and procedures for receiving benefits while living abroad may depend on the country of residence and other factors. Therefore, it may be helpful to consult with an immigration attorney or a Social Security representative for more information on the specific requirements and procedures for receiving Social Security benefits while living abroad.

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