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More Social Security recipients get checks outside U.S.

The government pays out about $860 billion in Social Security benefits every year. But a growing number of recipients is opting to collect their checks outside the United States., a website that specializes in advice for people who want to retire outside the United States, says that about $3 billion in Social Security payments were made to 373,224 U.S. citizens living in foreign countries in 2013, the most recent year for which there are data. That was an increase of $160 million from 2012.

The most popular retirement spot is Europe, where 154,238 American expatriates are collecting Social Security. You can live virtually anywhere in the world and still collect Social Security, with the exception of Cuba and North Korea. Cuba is still on the banned list despite the recent thaw in relations.

For more information on Social Security payments while living outside the U.S., go to

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