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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

Absence from the United States

2116. Absence from the United States

2116.1 Are you still eligible for SSI benefits if you leave the United States?

You are not eligible for SSI benefits for the month or months that you are:

  1. Outside the United States for a full calendar month or more; and

  2. Not a child living outside the United States with a parent in the military service or a student temporarily abroad for the purpose of studying.

2116.2 When are you considered "back" in the United States?

If you have been outside the United States for 30 days in a row, you are not considered "back" until you have spent 30 days in a row in the United States.

2116.3 When does your eligibility begin again after you have been outside of the United States?

After an absence of 30 days in a row, your SSI eligibility may resume effective with the day following the 30th day of your continuous presence in the United States. You must continue to meet all other eligibility criteria.

2116.4 Can a blind or disabled child still be eligible for SSI benefits while living outside the United States?

A blind or disabled child may be eligible for SSI benefits while outside the United States if the child:

  1. Is a United States citizen; and

  2. Lives with a parent who is a member of the U.S. armed forces assigned to permanent duty ashore outside the United States

2116.5 Can a student still be eligible for SSI benefits while living outside the United States?

A student of any age may be eligible for SSI benefits while temporarily outside the United States if:

  1. The student is conducting studies that are not available in the United States;

  2. The student is sponsored by an educational institution in the United States;

  3. The studies abroad are designed to enhance the student's ability to get gainful employment; and

  4. The student was eligible to receive a SSI benefit for the month before the first full month outside the United States.

Last Revised: Jul. 1, 2004

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