Can I Collect My Social Security Disability in the Philippines

Will your disability be payable in the Philippines? 

Will your disability be payable in the Philippines? 

(Updated 27 February 2020)

The answer to this frequent question is a definite yes, no or maybe.  I hate to sound flippant but this is one of those questions that can only be answered with another question.

What do you mean by Social Security Disability?

Will your disability be payable in the Philippines? 

I get a lot of questions on this subject because while Social Security Disability payments are quite common, and they are supposed to cover the expenses of folks who are permanently disabled, they are very, very hard to live on in the USA.

The average disability monthly payment will support most people who live in the Philippines.  But there are some major factors to consider:

Will your disability be payable in the Philippines?

There are typically two categories of disability payments from the SSA (Social Security Administration)  — Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

SSDI _IS_ payable in the Philippines.

SSI is _NOT_ payable in the Philippines.

So before you make your plans to move to the Philippines and live off your disability payments, you better check very closely to make sure your payments will continue should you move here.

Be very careful about this because there are many folks on SSDI who also receive a monthly SSI supplement.  If you leave the USA for more than 30 days, your SSI supplementary payments will stop, and they can’t ever be restarted until you have been back in the USA for 30 days or more.

So your SSDI payments can continue if you move to the Philippines, but if you also have an SSI component to your payment, it’s going to stop 30 days after you leave the USA.

So you may well wind up with a greatly reduced payment.

Can you then actually receive that payment?

Yes You Can, With Some Annoying Restrictions

The Social Security Administration contracts with several commercial banks to send overseas payments to overseas recipients.

But don’t think you are going to receive a check in your mailbox.

Americans receiving government pensions may have those pensions direct deposited to their Philippine bank accounts.  Participating banks include the following followed by the fees each charges per direct deposit to a U.S. dollar account in the Philippines.

Allied Banking Corporation – $3.00
Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) – $3.00
Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) – $5.00
Land Bank of the Philippines – $5.00
Maybank – $3.00
Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) – $3.00
China Bank – $3.00
RCBC – $3.00 to $5.00
Bank of Commerce (BOC) – $5.00 to $7.00
Manila Bank – $1.00
Security Bank – $5.00
United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) – $4.00 to $6.00
Metrobank – $3.00
Philippine National Bank – $7.00

The banks with variable fees charge more for larger direct deposits.

How Do You Start Direct Deposit of your Benefits?

If you’d like to sign up for direct deposit in the Philippines go to the bank you have chosen, open a US Dollar account and ask for the direct deposit enrollment form.

The bank will help you fill it out and the bank will submit the form to Social Security representatives in Manila.

The account into which the funds are paid must be an individual account.  For example, you can not deposit into a joint account with your wife or a child or caregiver.

A Social Security concern is that benefits may continue to be paid and spent long after the pensioner has expired.

So you CAN receive your benefits by direct deposit in the Philippines, but it is not necessarily easy.

For an authoritative Reading On Receiving benefits overseas, you may find this

Payments Outside the United States tool useful


So Now You Know More About Will your disability be payable in the Philippines? 

4 thoughts on “Can I Collect My Social Security Disability in the Philippines”

  1. Keep in mind that you can bank in the US and live abroad. This is what I do and it has worked for me living in 4 different countries.
    I lived in China, Colombia, Panama and the Philippines. But my bank is in California and my SS is direct deposited there. I have 2 US accounts so should I have a problem with one of my ATM cards I have a backup.
    There are some drawbacks of course. My US bank only allows withdrawal of $200 usd (10,000p) in 24 hours. But many banks have larger allotments. There is a 250p service charge from ATM banks here in the PH; so you lose $5 for every $200 withdrawn.
    But I’ve found that PH banks have a lot of BS charges. IE: 50p service charge to deposit 6000p in cash at BPI.
    If you are using a US bank it doesn’t matter where you are in the world so long as they have ATMs that service you system.

    1. @ James

      Absolutely James, thanks for contributing. I too have all my income sent to my US credit union and transfer what I need to the Philippines. I did not go into this because I wanted to keep the article short and sweet … many people I talk to here in the Philippines don’t have any US bank account.

      By all means, keeping your US bank accounts is the best solution. For example, US military and civil service retirements can NOT be sent to the Philippines, so US banking is the best bet. But for those who insist on having their SSDI payments sent to the Philippines, this is the way to go.

  2. I am wanting to go to the Philippines to live . Im on disability SSI I’m turning 67 in April the 16th. I have a place to stay there. I have my SSI deposit onto a debt card. I believe I can use my debit card as cash there in the Philippines can’t I ?? In exchange for pesos

    1. Hello Vincent,

      Thanks for writing in. First of all, as a US citizen, you can’t get into the Philippines right now. Basically no etry for foreigners, period. People are stacked up like cordwood at many Manila hospitals these days, waiting for a bed. Out in the provinces, it’s worse. One can assume (maybe) that the COVID crisis will end before we’re all dead but the end is still not in sight. Medical care for foreigners is particularly problematic here, Filipinos can’t get proper care themselves due to out-of-control positive rates of infection of health care workers. As a US citizen who is basically trapped here right now, let me tell you, man to man, you do NOT WANT to come here now. Sorry.

      The second issue, SSI. (Supplemental Security Income). This is not payable outside the USA. Check your eligibility here: Payments Abroad Screening Tool

      And yes, they will find out where your money is going, even if it is deposited to a US bank account. You can use a US debit card almost anywhere in the Philippines and of course, it will give you Pesos in exchange for your dollars, but at a very unfavorable and costly rate of exchange …not to mention the ATM fees involved. Think twice before you pull the plug, this is a very nasty country to be broke in. No fun at all.

      Sorry to “rain on your parade” but unlike some people, I don’t blow smoke about how great things are here … and things here are nowhere near as cheap as they used to be, either. Stay well and good luck to you.

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