U.S. Social Security Questions Answered

John McNertney
March 7, 2023

One of the most common questions we're asked is how much am I going to be taxed Social Security if I move to Portugal? It's so frequently asked, we created a video and diagram to answer this question. Many individuals who have worked in the United States and paid U.S. taxes may not realize that they're eligible for a Social Security benefit despite being in Portugal.

  1. Timing. Regardless of where you are in the world, you need a basic understanding your budget and overall cash flow needs. If you know you can afford to wait, then you may want to consider delaying taking your payments. This is a pension… And like all pensions, there are penalties if you decide to take the money out early, and some bonus if you decide to take it later on.
  2. What is the budget? Will your payments realistically cover a meaningful percentage of your overall income?
  3. As always, if you are also recieving income from other sources, you will want to determine how much, if any of your Social Security will be subject to additional taxes, either in the US or in your new country of residence.
  4. Will your spouse or family qualify for survivor benefits when you pass on? There may be new, potential exclusions as a consequence of your foreign residency. Though the list is small, there may be some rare situations where your income benefit may not be available to your survivors.

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