How to Reap the Benefits of Social Security While Living Overseas: Tips and Tricks

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social security overseas

In 1935, when Social Security was first established, its initial aim wasn’t to serve as the primary retirement income for individuals. Instead, it was designed as a safety net for those who couldn’t amass substantial retirement savings. Back then, with shorter lifespans and reliance on dependable pensions, most Americans didn’t dwell much on their Social Security.

Fast forward to today, the landscape has dramatically changed. Planning for Social Security has become a crucial component in ensuring adequate income during retirement, and there exist strategies to optimize these benefits. Keep reading this blog to know more about Social Security abroad and how to gain benefits from it.  

Also Read: Tips to Adjust to Student Life Abroad

What is Social Security Overseas?

For Indian citizens living overseas, Social Security refers to the benefits and assistance programs provided by the Indian government to support individuals in various aspects of their lives, including retirement, disability, healthcare, and other social welfare services. These programs aim to ensure a certain level of economic security and well-being for Indian citizens, even when they are residing outside of India.

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What are the Benefits of Social Security Overseas?

It’s important for Indian citizens living overseas to stay informed about the specific programs and benefits available to them through the Indian government’s various missions and consulates. They can also seek guidance from relevant authorities and organizations specializing in services for the Indian diaspora.

Some of the key components of Social Security for Indian citizens living overseas may include:

Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) Card

The OCI card is a form of identification that allows foreign nationals of Indian origin to live and work in India indefinitely. It provides certain privileges and benefits similar to those of Indian citizens.

Pension and Retirement Benefits

Indian citizens living abroad may be eligible for pension benefits based on their contributions to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) or other pension schemes in India.

Healthcare Benefits

Depending on their eligibility, Indian citizens abroad may have access to healthcare facilities and services provided by the Indian government.

Financial Assistance for Students

Indian students studying abroad may be eligible for scholarships, financial aid, or grants from the Indian government or relevant institutions.

Consular Services

Indian missions and consulates abroad offer various services, including assistance with passport renewals, visas, and other documentation.

Also Read: Expats Living Abroad: Everything You Need to Know!

How to Prepare for Social Security Benefits?

Preparing for Social Security benefits while living abroad as an Indian citizen involves several important steps. Here are some key strategies to consider:

Stay Informed About Agreements Between India and the Host Country

Understand any bilateral agreements or Totalization Agreements that exist between India and the host country. These agreements can impact the eligibility and amount of Social Security benefits you can receive.

Maintain Eligibility for Indian Social Security

Continue to fulfill any requirements set by the Indian government to remain eligible for Social Security benefits. This may include contributing to schemes like the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) or other relevant pension plans.

Stay Updated on Policy Changes

Keep abreast of any changes in Indian Social Security policies, especially those that may affect expatriates. This information can be obtained from Indian government agencies, embassies, or consulates.

Explore Totalization Agreements

If applicable, understand how Totalization Agreements between India and the host country can impact your Social Security benefits. These agreements may help prevent double taxation and ensure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to.

Maintain Communication with Indian Authorities

Stay in touch with the relevant Indian authorities, such as the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO), for updates, inquiries, or any necessary documentation related to your Social Security benefits.

By proactively taking these steps, Indian citizens living abroad can effectively prepare for Social Security benefits and ensure they receive the support they’re entitled to during their retirement years.

Must Read: Tips to Make the Best of your Study Abroad Experience

How Should an Indian Citizen Apply for Social Security While Living Overseas?

Applying for Social Security benefits while living overseas as an Indian citizen involves a series of steps to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Here is a guide on how to do it:

Gather Required Documents: Collect all necessary documentation including your passport, proof of Indian citizenship, employment history, and any other relevant paperwork.

Create a My Social Security Account: Visit the official website of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and create a “My Social Security” account. This will enable you to apply for benefits online.

Review Eligibility and Benefit Information: Familiarize yourself with the eligibility criteria for the specific type of benefit you’re applying for (e.g., retirement, disability, survivor benefits). Understand the requirements and the amount of benefits you may be eligible to receive.

Complete the Online Application: Log in to your “My Social Security” account and navigate to the “Apply for Benefits” section. Follow the prompts and provide accurate information about your personal details, employment history, and any other required information.

Submit Required Documents: Depending on the type of benefit you’re applying for, you may need to submit additional documents. These could include birth certificates, marriage certificates, medical records, and proof of previous employment.

Verify Your Identity: The SSA may request additional verification of your identity. This can be done by providing original or certified copies of important documents.

Select Method of Payment: Choose how you would like to receive your benefits. Options may include direct deposit to a bank account or receiving a paper check mailed to your overseas address.

Monitor Application Status: After submitting your application, keep an eye on your “my Social Security” account for updates on the status of your application.

Additionally, consider consulting with a professional who specializes in international Social Security applications if you have any specific concerns or questions.


Q1. Is it possible to reside in India and receive Social Security benefits?

Ans. Yes, you maintain the entitlement to receive your Social Security benefits in India as long as you meet the eligibility criteria based on your own earnings or as a dependent/survivor.

Q2. What occurs with your Social Security if you reside abroad?

Ans. If you have accrued Social Security benefits, you have the option to either visit or establish residence in most foreign countries while still receiving your payments.

Q3. What happens to my Social Security number if I depart from the US? 

Ans. Your SSN remains valid. However, there may be exceptions, particularly for individuals who have resided in the United States for an extended period or for citizens of certain countries with which the United States has an agreement.

For more such updates, keep an eye on Leverage Edu. If you are planning to study abroad in the upcoming intakes get in touch with our study abroad experts at 1800-57-2000.

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