Social Security Topics You Should Check before Traveling

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 4, 2003 | Go to article overview

Social Security Topics You Should Check before Traveling


Byline: Jim Bushman District Manager, Elgin Social Security Office

Are you a Social Security beneficiary who is traveling this summer?

You have a few things to think about, especially if you are planning some trips abroad.

If you're one of the relatively few Social Security recipients who still has a check mailed to your home, then you probably have made arrangements with the post office or a friend to safeguard your mail, including any Social Security checks that might come while you're gone.

But you should know that any worries you might have about that check lying around in a post office or a friend's house could be alleviated if you had direct deposit.

It's a safe, easy and convenient way to receive your benefit. Just visit your bank, credit union or other financial institution and tell the folks there that you want direct deposit. They'll take it from there. Or you can call us at (800) 772-1213 for details.

If you are planning a trip outside the United States, you also should know that you won't be covered by Medicare overseas. In case something happens to you while you're traveling, you should make sure you have other insurance that will cover any medical treatment you might need.

The only time Medicare may cover you outside the United States is in certain emergency situations while traveling in Canada and Mexico.

There is one more travel-related issue that may affect your Social Security benefits.

Imagine yourself lounging on a padded porch swing under some lemon trees in the back yard of a quaint bed and breakfast inn somewhere in the hills of Tuscany. The warm sun is just setting over the gold and green hills, the fragrance from nearby grapevines overcomes you, and you turn to your spouse and say, "Honey, we're moving to Italy!" And your spouse, being a bit more practical than you, says, "But what about the grandkids, our house and our Social Security checks?"

I can't help with the house and the grandchildren, but I can ease your mind about Social Security. That scene is not as far- fetched as you might think.

There currently are more than 400,000 Social Security beneficiaries who live overseas.

If you are a U.S. citizen, we can send your Social Security benefits to almost any country in the world. …

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