TN 10 (03-04)

GN 01701.005 International Social Security (Totalization) Agreements

A. Introduction

Section 233 of the Social Security Act authorizes the President to enter into bilateral agreements with foreign countries to provide for limited coordination of the U.S. Social Security program with certain social insurance programs of foreign countries. These international social security agreements are often referred to as Totalization agreements.

B. Policy – agreements in force

The United States has Totalization agreements in force with the following countries as of the effective dates shown:

Country Effective Date
Australia October 1, 2002
Austria November 1, 1991
Belgium July 1, 1984
Canada August 1, 1984
Chile December 1, 2001

Denmark

October 1, 2008

Czech Republic

January 1, 2009

Finland November 1, 1992
France July 1, 1988
Germany December 1, 1979
Greece September 1, 1994

Hungary

September 1, 2016

Ireland September 1, 1993
Italy November 1, 1978
Japan October 1, 2005
Korea (South) April 1, 2001
Luxembourg November 1, 1993
Netherlands November 1, 1990
Norway July 1, 1984

Poland

March 1, 2009

Portugal August 1, 1989
Slovak Republic May 1, 2014
Spain April 1, 1988
Sweden January 1, 1987
Switzerland November 1, 1980
United Kingdom January 1, 1985 (coverage provisions)
January 1, 1988 (benefit provisions)

NOTE: The agreement with the United Kingdom was implemented in two stages: (1) the provisions for elimination of dual coverage and taxation became effective January 1, 1985; and (2) the benefit provisions became effective January 1, 1988.

C. Description of the main provisions of the agreements

The provisions described in the following subsections are common to most U.S. Totalization agreements. Special provisions that apply only under specific agreements are explained in the appropriate agreement subchapter.

1. Dual coverage provisions

The agreements eliminate dual social security coverage and taxation, the situation that occurs when a person from one country works in another country and is required to pay social security taxes to both countries for the same earnings. The agreements include rules that assign a worker’s coverage to one country’s system or the other (but not both).

2. Totalization benefit provisions

Totalization benefit provisions help eliminate situations where workers fail to qualify for social security benefits because they have divided their careers between the United States and a foreign country. Under an agreement, workers may qualify for partial U.S. or foreign benefits, called Totalization benefits, based on credits in both countries.

3. Alien nonpayment exception provisions

The agreements exempt certain beneficiaries from suspension of benefit payments under the alien nonpayment provisions of section 202(t) of the Social Security Act.

4. Administrative assistance provisions

Administrative assistance provisions in each agreement provide that the Social Security Administration and the social security agency of the other country will assist each other in administering the agreement. In general, this assistance involves taking benefit applications on behalf of the other country and exchanging claims-related information and evidence. (The individual agreement subchapters explain what types of assistance will be given under each agreement.)

NOTE: Each country’s agency continues to adjudicate and award and pay benefits independently of the other.

5. Applications and appeals provisions

Each agreement provides that an application for benefits from one country may be filed with the agency of the other country. Similarly, an appeal of one country’s decision on a claim may be filed with the other country.

D. References


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0201701005
GN 01701.005 - International Social Security (Totalization) Agreements - 05/01/2018
Batch run: 05/01/2018
Rev:05/01/2018