TN 10 (03-04)

GN 01701.225 Determining Amount of Monthly Totalization Benefits

A. Policy

1. General

Totalization monthly benefit amounts and maximums are always based on the pro rata primary insurance amount (PIA). For example, a benefit for a surviving child would be 75% of the pro rata PIA.

2. Potential dual entitlement

When an applicant has potential entitlement to both a Totalization and a non-Totalization benefit or two Totalization benefits, the usual rules regarding simultaneous entitlement apply. The pro rata PIA (or pro rata benefit for dependent claims) must be used to determine entitlement to and amount of the non-Totalization benefit. For example, if a person is entitled to an unreduced Totalization “A” benefit and an unreduced higher non-Totalization “B” benefit, the pro rata “A” benefit would be paid plus the difference between the non-Totalization “B” benefit and the pro rata PIA.

3. Reduction for age

Totalization benefits are reduced for age in the same manner as non-Totalization benefits. If an individual who received a Totalization benefit reduced for age subsequently becomes entitled to a non-Totalization benefit, the reduction factor applied to the Totalization benefit must be carried over to the non-Totalization benefit.

4. Technical entitlement to totalization Disability Insurance Benefit (DIB) during entitlement to Reduced Retirement Insurance Benefit (RIB)

If a number holder (NH) who is receiving Totalization DIB is insured for a non-Totalization RIB and elects to receive the non-Totalization RIB before full retirement age, the technical entitlement to Totalization DIB will continue (assuming the disability continues) during the entitlement to the reduced RIB. Thus, upon attainment of full retirement age, the reduction factor will be adjusted in accordance with RS 00615.482 to exclude the months of technical entitlement to the Totalization DIB.

B. Process – applicant files for non-totalization benefits – possible earlier entitlement to totalization benefits

An applicant who is insured for benefits without foreign coverage may also file for Totalization benefits on the same Social Security number (SSN) because the Totalization benefit would permit an earlier month of entitlement. In such cases, if the Totalization benefit is small there may be no advantage to choosing the earlier entitlement since the reduction factor will carry over to the non-Totalization benefit.

C. Procedure – applicant entitled to non-totalization benefit files for reduced totalization benefits

1. Office of International Operations (OIO) Responsibilities

OIO will:

  • obtain the foreign coverage record,

  • determine the amount of the Totalization benefit, if entitlement exists, and

  • request the field office to discuss the results with the applicant.

2. Field Office (FO) responsibilities

FOs will:

  • contact the applicant and explain the consequences of electing the reduced Totalization benefit,

  • secure an SSA-521 (Request for Withdrawal of Application) or written statement if the applicant wishes to withdraw the Totalization application, or

  • if the applicant chooses to take the Totalization benefit, document the file with a statement signed by the applicant or a Report of Contact indicating the applicant was given a full explanation of the consequences of taking the Totalization benefit.

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GN 01701.225 - Determining Amount of Monthly Totalization Benefits - 02/20/2014
Batch run: 02/20/2014