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Can my non-US spouse receive my Social Security benefits?


In most cases, the answer is yes. Foreign spouses generally qualify for Social Security survivor benefits, which are the deceased US worker’s full benefits. In the case of dependent or spousal Social Security, a foreign spouse will likely qualify, receiving half of the US expat’s benefit.

There are lots of rules and exceptions to this, and of course we can’t outline every one of them here, as they vary by country. Below are a few of the basic requirements:

  • You must have worked and contributed to Social Security for at least 10 years.
  • You must be at least 62 years old.
  • You cannot be a resident of Cuba or North Korea, although if you are, you can receive all back payments owed once you move to a country where you are eligible to receive benefits.
  • You must not be in a country where payments are prohibited: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Please note: this list may change.

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