How Would Moving To Malaysia Affect My Wife's Social Security?

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May 13 2019 - 11:34am

I'm a natural born citizen, married for 25 years. My wife, who is a legal permanent resident of the U.S. for 25 years, recently retired from her job. She held that job for 20 years. She has made a good salary, earning over 6 figures for 10 of those years. She has, of course, paid into Social Security the entire time. We now plan to move abroad (Malaysia) for our retirement. We were wondering how that could affect her Social Security? I have read conflicting information and heard conflicting anecdotes. Some people say it will end after 6 months, others that she meets criteria to continue to receive it until death. Thank you for any clarification. (The only reason she hasn't gotten American citizenship is that Malaysia does not allow dual and we always planned to retire there)
Hank

Hi Hank,

Your wife will be able to continue to receive her U.S. Social Security benefits while living in Malaysia as a non US citizen, but her benefits will likely be subject to a 30% nonresident alien tax withholding. For more information about this provision, refer to the following Social Security website: https://www.ssa.gov/international/AlienTax_reference_2.html.

You and your wife may want to strongly consider using our software to explore and compare your filing options in order to determine your best strategy for claiming your benefits.

Best, Jerry