Contributed By Retire Worldwide Member Living In Cebu, Philippines:
US citizens can draw their social security in any country on the planet except for Cuba and North Korea, and as far as I can determine, have it deposited locally.
The country lists below are for citizens of the respective countries who have earned the right to draw SSA benefits, but are not US citizens.
Country List 1
A quick view of the site shows that the following countries citizens are eligible to have direct deposit of their US SSA checks with no restrictions:
Country List 2
This is the list of countries citizens that can have direct deposit of their SSA check as long as they are a not receiving their check as a dependent or a survivor:
If you are not a citizen of one of the above countries, your payments will stop after you have been outside the US for six calendar months unless of course you are a US citizen. As always, all of these lists are subject to change. There is a third and fourth country list if your country is not listed here.
Perspectives From The Philippines
I live in Cebu, Philippines and my SSA is deposited locally, along with my military retirement check, and my civilian pension. And, if your check arrives in your account on the 3rd of the month in the US, it will arrive here in Cebu on the 4th of the month. (International Date Line you know). No other normal delays. This is the only country that I have had my SSA checks deposited locally at, so it is the only one I am familiar with.
It takes 28 days to clear a US check that I deposit here in my local bank, that is why I use direct deposit. People don’t accept checks in a lot of third world countries, including the Philippines. You stand in line at the places you need to pay, and pay in cash. Some things are delivered to your home such as beer, coke, drinking water, and can be paid COD. Things like electric, cable, phone need to be paid in person, either at the office of the provider, or at a collection outlet, but in most cases, they only accept cash, not checks or cards.
It costs various fees to access your account overseas. Your bank can charge a fee, visa and master charge usually charge a fee, and rest assured that the ATM you use will assess a fee.
You would not want to mail anything here in the Philippines, if it does arrive, it would be very slow. But I don’t do that. I have US accounts to pay for things online, and my Philippine account to pay local things.
A lot of the local banks have relationships with US banks. My US bank can transfer funds to my local bank here, in any amount, for a $3 fee, and it takes two hours and I can have it in dollars or pesos.
Also, I don’t remember seeing the Philippines listed in your list of places to retire. More than a hundred thousand people from the US live here. Something about this place must be good.
For more information about receiving U.S. Social Security payments while living outside the United States, go to http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10137.html