A foreign pension is “based on a Totalization agreement with the United States” if
entitlement to the pension is established as a result of the Totalization agreement
between the United States and that country. A foreign pension is not based on the
agreement if the beneficiary met the normal entitlement requirements of the other
country’s laws and did not rely on the agreement to establish entitlement. The decision
as to whether the foreign pension is based on the agreement is made as of the first
month the beneficiary is concurrently entitled to the foreign pension and a U.S. benefit.
While most agreements provide for adding U.S. and foreign credits together, if necessary,
to establish entitlement to a foreign benefit, not all do. Certain agreements (e.g.,
the Swiss agreement) establish alternative eligibility requirements for foreign benefits
that do not involve adding U.S. and foreign credits. When entitlement to the foreign
benefit is established under such alternative requirements, the foreign pension is
considered to be a pension based on an agreement with the United States.