American citizens living in Israel can receive social security payments as long as they meet certain requirements of the Social Security Administration.
Who is considered an American citizen living outside the U.S.?
If you have been outside of U.S. territory (50 states + territories) for thirty days straight, you are no longer considered someone who is living in the U.S. Should you return to the U.S. for thirty days straight, you once again are considered a resident of the U.S. for the purposes of social security.
How do I apply for social security payments?
As a matter of policy, the Social Security Administration sends out questionnaires to citizens eligible for social security. These questionnaires are crucial for determining your level of eligibility. Once received, fill out the form immediately and send it to the return address noted in the envelope you received. If you do not send the Social Security Administration your completed questionnaire, your social security payments will be halted.
Additionally, you must report all changes to your personal details that may affect your level of eligibility. Should you not report them or report false information, you may be subject to fines or imprisonment.
The foreign work test:
If you fulfill the following two criteria, you are not eligible for social security payments:
- You have not reached the official retirement age (65-67, based on your year of birth).
- You worked more than 45 hours weekly outside of the U.S.
Please note: If you meet the above two criteria, you will begin receiving payments at a later stage. In turn for waiting, you can expect higher payments. Therefore, you wouldn’t get a lower amounts from social security; you just begin to collect them later.
The annual retirement test:
If your annual income is above 15,120$, your social security payments are reduced as follows:
- For every 2$ above the stated amount, 1$ will be deducted from your social security payment
- If you reached the retirement age in the year 2013 and made more than 40,080$ annually, 1$ is deducted from your payment for every 3$ you made above the stated amount.
If you are above the official retirement age, you are eligible for the full social security payments regardless of your annual income.
Qualifying income for the purpose of social security calculations:
Only earned income, whether it is from your employer or because you are self-employed, qualifies as income for social security purposes. Passive income from interest, dividends, capital gains, pension plans, rental properties, etc. is not considered income for social security purposes.
Israeli Green Card Holders
If your green card or social security number has expired, but you have paid the required 40 quarters, you are still eligible for social security payments if you meet the foreign worker test described above.
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