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Thread: US social security benefits in NZ

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    UK to USA to Waikato, NZ

    Default US social security benefits in NZ

    Hubby was told that if you are a US citizen and you live in NZ that when you get to retirement age the US will not pay benefits to you there. Does anybody know if there is any truth to this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Northland from South Carolina


    From an internet search, for what it's worth:

    by Barbara Frew, author of
    Personal Finance for Overseas Americans: How to direct your own financial future while living abroad

    For U.S. citizens living abroad getting your U.S. social security benefits may or may not be a simple matter. In a few countries you cannot receive U.S. social security payments. For example, the U.S. Treasury bans payments to Cambodia, Cuba, and North Korea. There are additional social security restrictions that prevent you from receiving social security payments if you live in Vietnam or some parts of the former Soviet Union such as the Ukraine. These restrictions do not apply to Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Armenia. If you live in one of the banned or restricted countries payments will be withheld, but they will be restored once you move to a non-restricted country.

    Even if you live in a non-restricted country you may face logistical problems receiving your U.S. Treasury check. Getting your check via the mail may not be the best option. Many foreign postal systems are reliable, but some are not. Assuming the postal system is secure, the banking system in your host country will not be able to process a U.S. check on its own. When you take a U.S. Treasury check to a local bank it will be returned to the United States for clearance. After the U.S. check
    clearing system has processed the check, it will be mailed back to your host country bank to go through that country’s clearing system. The whole process can easily take three weeks and can cost as much as if you had wired the money to yourself from the United States. On top of that, you still must pay foreign exchange charges.

    ... see
    Last edited by IanW99; 25th April 2011 at 08:26 PM. Reason: removed copyright content

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden


    I know when I left the States (living in Sweden right now), I kept my bank account so anything I do or any checks I receive (not ss checks since I'm only 35) they can go to that bank account. I keep my parents mailing address or maybe you would have some other family you could have the checks mailed to when the time comes and they can send it to the bank.

    I even get checks here and I sign them, put them in the mail and send them directly to my bank in the States. Once I saw that it worked and it was easier than having someone go to the bank for me, I've been doing it that way since.

    It costs quite a bit to cash the checks here and I'm sure that will be the same for NZ. From the previous post I see NZ is not on the list of banned countries so getting your benefits won't be a problem - you just have to decide how you will go about doing it. I would let them mail it to you in NZ and then send them directly to your bank (if you're comfortable signing them before posting them). However you decide to do it, it's not impossible and you will get your money

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    NZ to US to NZ. Opua


    Ah - we must be in the same age group.

    I'm 61. I have paid into U.S. social security benefits for many years and am returning to NZ to live for 7+ months of each year. I'll have my social security check deposited in my U.S. account and will write a check to my NZ bank account. When I'm in the states for 4+ months each year, I will buy NZ travel/medical insurance that will cover me when I'm there....but I wonder if I'll be eligible for medicare for those few months (if it still exists!) once I hit 66 even though I won't be a U.S. resident (but will be a U.S. citizen).

    Have you looked into this?

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