9 Replies Latest reply on Mar 5, 2011 11:13 PM by tozenne

    Social Security

      hello--   I am 60 years old.   For over 20 years I paid the maximum amount into Social Security.   But now I have taken a job in a foreign country and although I still pay U.S. taxes, I am not contributing to Social Security.   I have been trying to find out if my SS benefit will be reduced because I no longer contribute.  I did check with SS and I cannot contribute on my own because my foreign job does not qualify to participate in SS.    Does anyone know if my benefit will be reduced?   I have not received a clear answer from the SS website.      EAW
        • Re: Social Security
          It would be helpful to know what your last "Your Social Security Statement" said when you last worked in the U.S. They have sent these out annually, without the need to request them, for several years. Besides checking to make sure all of your lifetime employers reported your earning properly, this also gives you the figures to plug into the rough-estimate form on the SS website, http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10070.html, or more accurately, http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/AnypiaApplet.html . This may provide some reassurance while you wait for a written estimate. I realize that you are out of the country, but I have to say that my 84-year old mother and I have gotten very compassionate, helpful service over the phone with Social Security. It may take more than one call, and you may have to wait on hold. But the staff are well-trained and well-organized, in my experience.

          Once you know your highest 35 years of covered earnings, you can make a reasonable guess. If you're close to retiring, a comparison between your two most recent "Statement"s also can suggest what it might cost to miss the next year of covered earnings. Because you are so close to retirement, I wouldn't feel so bad about missing the last few years. Perhaps you should maximize possible salary deferal in whatever private retirement plan your employer offers.

          I want to suggest, politely I hope, that you don't use the term "reduced". Because a small number of my employers were exempt from Social Security, and I could only find part-time, contractor work for some years, I don't have contributions for those years. But I don't think of my benefits as being "reduced", I think of failing to have obtained credits towards a maximum possible payment.

          Here is the link for requesting a "Statement", in case you haven't had one for several years:


          • Re: Social Security
            Simple answer:  No. Your last SS statement shows your benefit. It will not be reduced because you are out-of-the-country. However, since you no longer contribute the benefit will not be raised based on higher future income than originally reported. In other words your present benefit is based on 35 working years, if new US-income reporting would raise one or more of those years then potentially your benefit would go up. Mine does as I continue to work--in the US.