Say a person is citizen of Country A. Person applies for citizenship of other countries B,C,D where Country A's citizens are eligible to apply for dual citizenship.

Person A reaches the age or conditions that make the person eligible for Social Security. Can such a person technically, or by craft obtain Social Security income from multiple nations ?

  1. Yes/No ?
  2. If No,what are the general principles of law to regulate misuse/abuse of SS income. Assume jurisdiction US, UK,Canada. US Citizens also hold dual citizenship with Canada, some such persons are also UK citizens.
  • In general, social security systems base their benefits ona person's work history, and, in particular, their history of paying taxes into the system. Citizenship and even residence may be irrelevant or secondary. So a US citizen, for example, who's never worked in the US, who has never paid social security tax, is not eligible for social security benefits.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 0:58
  • There is a special rule that applies to U.S.-Mexico cases that I have seen cited, but I don't have it at hand. Basically, it allows for "buy ins" in certain cases.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


SS benefits are determined by national policy, and it is difficult to generalize over all jurisdictions. However, in the US, it is not necessary to be a citizen to collect benefits. You have to qualify (such as working 40 quarters) – thus even being a citizen does not guarantee benefits. Non-citizens are not subject to the same rules as citizens, but one unquestionably can receive benefits. The qualification rules in Canada are different, but again, you don't have to be a citizen and there are ways to combine qualification years across countries. In the Greater EU, people freely move from country to country and accumulate years of pension benefits, without the need to change citizenship.

I am not aware of any country that requires national pension scheme recipients to be citizens.

  • The question primarily is to understand if an otherwise eligible person draw multiple SS checks from multiple countries. This could lead to abuse of the system. Commented Sep 23, 2017 at 23:06
  • 1
    Whether or not this constitutes abuse is a political question: as for the legal question, it is legal to draw SS checks from multiple countries.
    – user6726
    Commented Sep 23, 2017 at 23:13
  • It may also be worth noting that being a US citizen does not by itself qualify someone to receive US social security benefits.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 1:56

Logically, countries will be reluctant to pay social security benefits if you haven't been paying them taxes. You can find the relevant agreements for a US citizen here:

US & Canada

  1. Except as otherwise provided in this Article, an employed person who works in the territory of one of the Contracting States shall, in respect of that work, be subject to the laws of only that Contracting State.

US-Canadian Social Security Agreement, Article V Section 1


  1. Except as otherwise provided in this Part, a person employed within the territory of one of the Parties shall, with respect to that employment, be subject to the laws on coverage of only that Party. Where a person is subject only to the laws on coverage of the United Kingdom in accordance with this paragraph, those laws shall apply to him as if he were ordinarily resident in the territory of the United Kingdom.

US-UK Social Security Agreement, Article 4 Section 1

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