By: Amy C. Dean
Social Security District Manager in Chico, CA

Summertime is here, and that means many people are busy planning their summer vacations.  Some of those vacations will involve globetrotting around the world.

If you receive Social Security benefits and you're planning to travel abroad this summer, there are some things you should know to make your trip - and the delivery of your Social Security payments - go smoothly.

First, if you haven't already done so, you should sign up for direct deposit.  It's the easiest and most secure way to receive your benefit payments, whether you're at home or halfway around the world.  With direct deposit, you never have to worry about your check being lost or stolen.  And direct deposit makes funds instantly available to you even when you are not at home to receive and cash your checks.   

You should also be familiar with how your Medicare coverage works outside the United States.  Be aware that Medicare, in most cases, does not pay for hospital or medical services outside the United States, except for some emergency services in Mexico and Canada.  That is the case even if you get sick or hurt while traveling.

The length of your journey may also make a difference.  Keep in mind that if you plan to stay outside the country more than 30 days, other rules may apply.  For example, in some countries, you cannot continue to receive benefits if you reside there for more than a month.  You can find out about these rules and more by visiting our online publications at  Look for the publication Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States.  Or you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to ask for a copy to be mailed to you.

So whether you're visiting relatives in Europe or simply traveling across the country, visit us at before you lift off.

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