Receive Social Security Benefits While Retiring in Mexico

If you wish to retire in Mexico you may ask, “Can you get your social security benefits in Mexico?” The answer to that question is “Yes.”

According to the the Social Security Online Electronic Booklet you have three different ways to receive your benefits in Mexico:

1. Have a check mailed to you in Mexico.

2. Receive a direct deposit into your account in Mexico.

3. Receive a direct deposit into your account in the U.S. (and use a cash card to access your money).

For more information you can read the booklet to learn more about your rights, residency requirements for some recipients, and other topics.

Personally, I recommend option three for the majority of people from the U.S. Option 1 involves depending on the Mexican mail system, and while it’s not that bad, it’s smart to use it for things you don’t depend on. I get 98% of my mail here in Mexico, but I received one letter about two years after it was sent! Obviously when you retire in Mexico, you wouldn’t want the thing that comes two years late to be your social security check. Option number 2 involves the slippery slopes of banks in Mexico with their often non-existent customer service and their frequently high/surprise charges involved in currency exchange, receiving transfers, scratching your nose, etc. Each bank is different in Mexico and sometimes it’s hard to know ahead of time what exactly you will encounter with a particular transaction at your particular bank. I created a section on banking in my book, Mexico: The Trick is Living Here, that includes tips on how to choose a bank in Mexico based on your particular needs. Having a bank account in Mexico is a smart idea and you can use that section to help you once you retire in Mexico, but again, when it comes to receiving your social security payments there is nothing like a cash card (and online banking through the internet) so you can work with a bank you are familiar with in the U.S. Cash machines are widely available throughout Mexico and are the best way to access cash.

Well, there you go, you can check that worry about retiring in Mexico off of your list. What else do you need to know about living in Mexico?

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3 comments

  1. E. Wolf Aug 2

    I’m hoping you can send me a few additional details about how to use a cash card in Mexico. I’m trying to find information for my father who would like to retire in Mexico. We had originally planned for him to keep receiving payments in his U.S. bank account, which I can access and would then mail him cash. It seems, based on your comments, that sending cash in the mail to Mexico might be a bad idea. Is there a foreign exchange fee for using the US cash card in Mexico? If so, can you estimate what that might be? Is it a percentage of the amount withdrawn? Or is it a flat fee of a certain amount? Any additinal information would be very helpful. Thank you! My email is….

  2. Julia Taylor Aug 4

    Kimika,

    Your father can use the cash machine in Mexico just as he does at home. You’ll have to ask the bank if any fees would apply when it is used in Mexico. They should be flat fees and not very high, if there are any. It would be a very, very bad idea to send your father the cash in the mail. I suggest that you do a lot of reading about traveling and retiring in Mexico to give you a better idea of what it’s like.

    I also recommend some 1 or 2 month long stays in Mexico, renting a small place, so that you can get a feel for it before your father commits financially to it.

    I removed your email address from your comment because it’s not a good idea to put it up there for others to see.

    I wish you and your father the best as you make plans for him to retire in Mexico.

    Kindest Regards,

    Julia C Taylor

  3. Ron Harris Sep 6

    We are ready to retire and I am considering all options. We are familiar with life in Mexico as my wife is from Ensenada (US citizen, though ) as is her family. My question is about using an atm cash card top access US social security payments in a mexican bank. My wife tells me that her mother ( who runs properties in Mexico) reports that the banks charge extremely high interest to use such a card in their atms or to attempt a cashout at a teller. this information may be outdated, however. Any help is appreciated.

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