TN 22 (07-97)
GN 00307.292 Use of Form SSA-308 Modified Benefit Formula Questionnaire — Foreign Pension
In order to elicit information necessary to determine whether and by how much a foreign pension may reduce a worker's benefit, SSA has had to rely on Form SSA-150, Modified Benefit Formula Questionnaire (see RS 00605.390). However, since this form was designed primarily to capture information about Civil Service pensions, it is inadequate when used to elicit information about a foreign pension. For example, pensions from countries with which the United States has concluded an international Social Security (or “totalization”) agreement (see GN 01700.000) may or may not be used to reduce the U.S. Social Security benefit, depending upon whether a regular benefit or a totalization benefit is payable (see GN 01701.300). Therefore, SSA has devised a new form; i.e., form SSA-308, to be used specifically for developing WEP cases where a foreign pension is involved. (A separate SSA-308 should be obtained for each foreign pension payable.)
Obtain form SSA-308 from a claimant who is first eligible for a foreign pension after 1985 and who is entitled or will be entitled to the foreign pension based on an application filed with the appropriate foreign agency/ employer.
C. Procedure — Completion of Form SSA-308
Each item on the SSA-308 is important and should be completed in full, as appropriate. Since some foreign pensions are payable based on other than work (e.g., to all residents of a particular country or as allowances to workers for their dependents), take care to obtain an SSA-308 only from those claimants who are or will be entitled to a foreign pension based on work.
1. Item 1
Have the claimant complete this item in full, since it may be necessary to recontact the paying agency/employer for additional information. Since it is common for workers in Europe, for example, to work in more than one country during the course of their working lives, it is important to elicit information about all noncovered pensions for which the claimant may be eligible.
2. Item 2
For a foreign pension payable for months after December 1994, WEP will not apply if the pension is based in part on a totalization agreement with the United States (see GN 01701.310). Therefore, if this item is answered “yes,” the claimant need not complete the rest of the form. However, it will be necessary for the claimant to submit acceptable evidence that the foreign pension is based on a totalization agreement with the United States (see GN 01701.315). It will not be necessary for the claimant who answers “no” to this question to submit evidence from the paying agency unless the amount of the pension determined to be applicable (i.e., after excluding months of work before 1957, months of voluntary contributions, etc.) is low enough for the guarantee to apply.
3. Item 3
4. Item 4
Since WEP may be assessed only against pensions based on noncovered work performed after 1956, this item elicits information which will enable SSA to correctly prorate the foreign pension.
5. Item 5
Some foreign pensions are not based in whole or in part on work performed after 1956. For example, some countries permit individuals to make voluntary Social Security contributions in order to increase the amount of their pension. When completed, this item will allow SSA (as above) to eliminate months used to figure the foreign pension that were not based on work performed after 1956.
6. Item 6
7. Item 7
This item elicits the same information as item 4 of the SSA-150, Modified Benefit Formula Questionnaire, except that it acknowledges the practice in some countries of paying pensions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. In addition, it asks for the amount of the foreign pension in the currency in which it is paid (SSA will convert the amount of the pension into U.S. dollars using the exchange rate applicable for the first day of the first month of concurrent entitlement to both the foreign pension and the U.S. Social Security benefit). Online currency conversion is available at Currency Converter | OANDA.
8. Item 8
D. Procedure — Agreement to Report
As pointed out above, some pensioners may have worked in more than one country during their lives and therefore may be eligible for pensions from more than one country. Therefore, be careful to point out to the claimant completing the SSA-308 that, in signing the form, he/she agrees to report promptly to SSA if he/she subsequently becomes entitled to another pension after the cessation of the pension currently received (see the “Important Information” block on the reverse of the form). If applicable, follow signature proxy procedures in GN 00201.015F.6.