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Am I Eligible to get Benefits (SSDI, Medicare) if I worked overseas and get a disability pension from another country?

This question comes from an individual who is a U.S. citizen, works as a research scientist, and receives a disability pension from Japan which is not sufficient to meet his living needs. His question: Am I eligible to get any benefits (SSDI, Medicare etc.) and how do I apply?



If you never worked in the US or worked very little, you may not be insured for Social Security disability benefits. If you have not worked enough to be insured, you are not eligible for Social Security disability. If you happen to have worked enough to be insured for Social Security disability benefits, your disability amount would be offset with the amount of your disability pension from Japan.

So, there would not likely be much money payable on your record if you worked most of your life in Japan; however you may be able to get Medicare benefits. Keep in mind that Medicare benefits are not paid for two years following the month you become eligible for a monthly SSDI benefit.

It is important to contact Social Security as soon as possible if you think there is a chance you may be insured through work that you did in the United States. The date of filing determines any back payment of disability benefits and it may also shorten the wait for Medicare benefits if you are entitled to retroactive disability benefits.

Retroactive disability benefit months can be paid for up to twelve months prior to the date you file your disability claim provided you have not been performing substantial work activity for at least seventeen months prior to filing your SSDI claim.

If you are not insured for SSDI, Social Security has another disability program, SSI, which offers disability benefits and Medicaid eligibility to those who are able to meet strict income and resource limits.

I am not sure of the amount of your disability pension from Japan, if it is over the current SSI disability payment amount of $698.00, you are not eligible for this program either.

If you meet the income limit of the program you still have to meet the resource limit of the program. Resources might include vehicles, homes, land, bank accounts, retirement plans, stocks, bonds, etc. You are allowed to have $2000.00 dollars in resources if you are single or $3000.00 if you are a couple. Social Security excludes one vehicle and the home you live in from the resource limit.

I would advise you to contact your local Social Security office and make an appointment to discuss your situation with them. You may be able to file a claim for disability or retirement (I do not know your age). If you are insured for both disability and retirement file for both. If it turns out you are not insured for either, you may still qualify for SSI disability benefits if you meet the programís income and resource limits.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Can I Get Disability If I Was Paid Under the Table?
What Determines If You Are Covered for SSDI (Social Security Disability) Benefits - The DLI Issue
Insured Status is What Makes SSDI and SSI Different From Each Other
What Is The Difference between SSD and SSI?
The Difference Between Social Security Disability and SSI Really Involves Work Activity
Am I Eligible to get Benefits (SSDI, Medicare) if I worked overseas and get a disability pension from another country?
Can You Get Disability Benefits If You Were Self-Employed and had Self-employment Earnings?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria