The alien non-payment provision (section 202(t) of the Social Security Act) provides,
in general, that aliens outside the U.S. for 6 consecutive calendar months will not
be paid benefits beginning with the 7th month of absence, unless the beneficiary meets
one of several specific exceptions to the general rule of nonpayment (see RS 02610.001). As explained in section 202(t)(1)(B), we do not consider a person to be “outside the U.S.,” and do not begin counting the 6-month period of absence, until the person has been
outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days.
As a practical matter, this means that a beneficiary may delay indefinitely the running
of the 6-month period by returning to the U.S. on any part of 1 day before the elapsing
of the 30-day period, since, by doing so, the beneficiary will not technically be
“outside the U.S.,” as explained above.
Once the beneficiary has been outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days, he or she
can interrupt the running of the 6-month period if he/she returns to the U.S. for
30 consecutive days before the end of the 6-month period. If the beneficiary does
not return to the U.S. for 30 consecutive days before the end of the 6-month period,
payments are suspended, and may only be resumed effective with the first full month
throughout which the individual is in the U.S.