You Can Still Collect Social Security When You Move to Panama!

While we work with people of all ages, many hoping to relocate to Panama plan to do so for retirement. They’re hoping to start a new chapter, embrace the slower pace of life that the country’s culture offers, and, most importantly, make their hard-earned savings last longer.

The lower cost of living that Panama, and many Latin American countries, offers US retirees is an undeniable factor in their motivation to move abroad.

Of course, I always warn you that you should not move to Panama solely for that reason. However, it is one of Panama’s many benefits to those from the U.S. and Canada. When you combine the lower cost of living with Panama’s famous Pensionado Discounts, you can reduce your cost of living when you move to Panama.

But, if you’re about to hit retirement age or have already done so, you will also be collecting social security or a pension, reaping the benefits of all those years of hard work.

cerro punta panama
Cerro Punta, Panama

Therefore, it’s logical that when considering moving abroad, you’re also thinking about whether or not you will still be able to receive your monthly social security retirement payments.

That’s why we know that one of the most important questions on your mind is:

Will I be able to receive social security retirement income while living in Panama?

Yes! The easy answer to this question is that yes, you will be able to receive those very important monthly Social Security retirement payments while living in Panama.

Indeed, Panama has made the process relatively easy for foreigners retiring in Panama. In addition to wonderful benefits and a streamlined path to residency, once you have a Panamanian bank account, you can get your social security retirement via direct deposit. All you have to do is fill out a form with Social Security, and you’re set!

If you prefer, you can continue to have your Social Security retirement payments go into a US bank, then wire the money to Panama. Or, you can use a debit card to access the cash from an ATM machine in Panama, but the fees are $6.50 for $250 in cash. Another option is writing a check from a US bank to deposit into your Panama account.

Whether living in Panama or another country, you can receive your Social Security retirement payments.

However, with any rule there are exceptions, so always double-check on the official government sites to ensure your specific country of interest.

If you receive other forms of Social Security payments, you may not be able to receive them when you move abroad. Go Here for the Payment Abroad Screening Test to determine if you can still receive Social Security when you move to Panama.

While it’s simple for U.S. citizens, the qualifications for eligibility to receive social security payments abroad if you aren’t a U.S. citizen (just simply a resident) will vary. Check out this document for some more in-depth explanations if you find yourself in this position.

living in coronado
Coronado, Panama
Can Canadians receive their Pensions if they move to Panama?

If you’re Canadian, you’re likely wondering the same thing: can you receive your Canadian pension while living in Canada?

Again, Panama makes retiring there easy, and Canadians can easily receive their pensions while living in Panama. Watch this live-stream interview with a Canadian CPA to determine if there could be changes in your pension or taxes when you move to Panama.

boquete panama
Boquete, Panama
Do I make enough Social Security retirement income to Qualify for Panama Residency?

When considering retiring abroad, you’ll want to become a resident of that country. So, when considering relocating to Panama, ensure you are eligible for residency.

Your pension or Social Security payment must be a LIFETIME payment to be eligible for residency in Panama. This means you will get the payment every month for the rest of your life.

See this article to learn what’s required to be eligible to get residency in Panama.

One of the allures of retiring in Panama is that the Panamanian government has made it relatively easy for retirees to gain residency there. However, you do need to meet a minimum monthly income (along with other requirements) to qualify.

Luckily, the amount of money needed to qualify is quite accessible for most. You need to have a minimum monthly income of $1,000 USD. This number goes up by $250 USD for each dependent you declare. Considering many other countries’ requirements, Panama’s minimum monthly income requirement is relatively low.

For more information on residency in Panama, check out our article on how to get the Pensionado Visa in Panama, a visa specifically for retirees.

Receiving Social Security in Panama is easy!

As you can see, Panama makes it easy for U.S. and Canadian retirees to receive their social security or pensions while living in Panama. So, worry no more! You can certainly move to Panama and continue to receive your monthly payments.

Panama City, Panama

When you’re ready to do a scouting trip to Panama, consider an all-inclusive 6-day, 7-night Panama Relocation Tour. It’s the easy way to see much of the country, see rentals, meet experts and expats, and learn how to have a hassle-free move to Panama too.

We also offer the Online Complete Panama Relocation Guide with all the information you need to relocate to Panama.

Jackie Lange

Jackie Lange is the founder of Panama Relocation Tours and lives in the highlands of Boquete Panama. She has helped thousands of people relocate to Panama.

Reader Interactions


  1. Samantha says

    Hi Jackie,
    My husband and I are planning to retire to Panama in January and the one issue that may stop us is this. Will I still receive my SSDI . I have chronic migraines and I cannot work so we do depend on my income as well as his to make this dream come true. I have looked everywhere for this information and cannot find an answer. Please help. We love watching you on YouTube tube. Great information.
    Thank you,

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Samantha. You need to check with Social Security. In some cases, disability payments are discontinued if you are outside of the United States for more than six months. Even more importantly, you and your husband will need to show a combined $1250 in LIFETIME income to qualify for a residency visa in Panama. You will need a visa to be able to live in Panama.

  2. Pamela Crayton says

    Good evening Jackie. I called Social Security Administration and they told me that 6 months after living in Panama that my payments will stop because I will no longer be a US citizen, however, I used your tool and it said that I’ll continue receiving my payments while living in Panama. Can you double check this for me please.

    Pamela Crayton

    • Jackie Lange says

      Pamela, You do not lose your US citizenship just because you move to Panama. You’re still a US citizen. And you will continue to receive Social Security RETIREMENT payments.

      But some social security disability payments or Social Security low income payments could stop if you are outside of the United States for more than six months.

      • Pamela Crayton says

        So I have to go back to the States every 6 months?

        • Jackie Lange says

          If you risk losing Social Security disability, you should not move to Panama if you rely on that income.

          WAIT to move to Panama until you receive Social Security retirement income.

  3. Patricia Patterson says

    My husband has paid to be able to get on your website and utilize the information that you offer. After visiting for 2 months we sold our home and have a flight to Panama January 4th. We have a lawyer from your list helping us. My question is whether I should keep my Medicare advantage or cancel Medicare all together since medical is cheaper in Panama?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Those who can afford it, keep their Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage covers medical emergencies in Panama. If you cancel Medicare, there is a penalty if you ever want to get it back again.

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