USA Social Security and Israel – What Israelis Need to Know

What do Israelis need to know about the American social security system

The United States’ social security system is somewhat comparable to Israel’s bituach leumi (Israeli National Insurance). Social security provides old age, disability and survivor benefits to those who qualify. In this article, we will explain the issue of USA social security for Israelis.

Can Israelis qualify for American social security benefits?

Many US citizens and permanent residents living in Israel will likely qualify for such benefits. Even Israelis who have little or no connection to the US may still qualify for some benefits based upon past employment in the United States.

Criteria for US social security for Israelis

To qualify for social security old age benefits, generally one must work in the US under social security covered employment for approximately 10 years. This entitles a person to a reduced benefit as early as age 62 and full benefits between ages 66-67. In addition, if a social security covered worker becomes disabled, even if working in Israel, he or she may qualify for disability benefits. Finally, if a social security covered worker dies, the spouse and minor children may qualify for social security survivor benefits.

The social security payment

The amount of benefits are generally dependent upon the length of work under social security covered employment and the wage level. The longer one is employed and the higher the wage determine the amount of the benefit. Currently, the average social security old age benefit is $1368/month. The maximum benefit is currently $2687/month.

A very significant benefit for Israelis who have sufficient social security covered employment is that social security benefits are skewed to lower income workers. This doesn’t mean Israelis are necessarily low wage earners. Rather, the formula social security uses to determine benefits theoretically is based upon 40 years of covered employment. For those who have significantly fewer years of covered employment, even at high wages, the formula makes it appear the worker was a low wage earner over his/her entire career. Because of that, the formula provides a proportionally richer benefit.

Another very important issue for older Israelis who seek to immigrate to the United States is that one who qualifies for social security benefits (one who worked for 10 years under social security covered employment) automatically qualifies for Medicare coverage at age 65. Medicare is the US national health insurance program for the elderly. Many who immigrate to the US at an older age have little, if any, social security covered employment. Thus, they essentially have no health care coverage for several years after immigration. The only alternative is for them to purchase health insurance in the private market, a very expensive proposition for someone at an advanced age.

Contact us

Our law office can assist Israelis with questions about social security and Medicare. We can also represent Israelis in cases before the Social Security Administration to achieve maximum benefits, whether for regular retirement, disability or survivor benefits.

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