TN 3 (02-95)

GN 01703.001 Overview of the Division of International Operations' (DIO) Totalization Responsibilities

A. Background

International social security agreements commonly known as “totalization agreements,” provide for limited coordination of the U.S. retirement, survivors, and disability (RSDI) insurance program with comparable programs of other countries, in addition to eliminating dual social security coverage and tax liability.

Note: This url provides a link to the Social Security Web Sites Around the World: http://www.ssa.gov/international/links.html

The agreements are authorized by Section 233 of the Social Security Act. The agreements and their effective dates are as follows:

CountryEffective Date
ItalyNovember 1, 1978
GermanyDecember 1, 1979
SwitzerlandNovember 1, 1980
NorwayJuly 1, 1984
BelgiumJuly 1, 1984
CanadaAugust 1, 1984
United KingdomJanuary 1, 1985 (Benefit provisions - January 1, 1988)
SwedenJanuary 1, 1987
SpainApril 1, 1988
FranceJuly 1, 1988
PortugalAugust 1, 1989
NetherlandsNovember 1, 1990
AustriaNovember 1, 1991
FinlandNovember 1, 1992
IrelandSeptember 1, 1993
LuxembourgNovember 1, 1993
GreeceSeptember 1, 1994
South KoreaApril 1, 2001
ChileDecember 1, 2001
AustraliaOctober 1, 2002
JapanOctober 1, 2005
DenmarkOctober 1, 2008
Czech RepublicJanuary 1, 2009
PolandMarch 1, 2009
Slovak RepublicMay 1, 2014
HungarySeptember 1, 2016

B. Policy

The following statements apply to totalization.

1. Jurisdiction

DIO is responsible for processing claims under international agreements, regardless of the claimant's residence, if the claimant is potentially entitled to totalization benefits from the U.S. or benefits from an agreement country.

  • Developing and adjudicating U.S. totalization claims.

  • Preparing and sending claims packages to foreign agencies.

  • Responding to assistance requests from foreign social insurance agencies.

  • Processing all post-adjudicative actions on U.S. totalization claims.

  • Obtaining information needed by the United States and foreign agencies to process totalization claims.

  • Replying to inquiries about totalization.

2. Claim for totalization

  1. An RSDI application is a claim for totalization benefits if all the following conditions are met:

    • the claimant answered “yes” to the question about coverage under the social insurance system of another country.

    • there is a totalization agreement with the country that is listed, and

    • the claimant has not stated that he/she does not wish to file for benefits under the totalization agreement.

  2. An RSDI application is not a claim for totalization benefits if the claimant has stated that he/she does not wish to file for totalization benefits. However, if it appears that the claimant has made a disadvantageous decision, the claimant is recontacted.

  3. RSDI applications which indicate coverage in a country with which there is no agreement do not constitute a formal application or protective filing under an agreement and are not referred to a module.

C. Process

Listed below is the proper routing for claims and material related to totalization.

1. FO and foreign social insurance agencies

Field offices (FOs) and foreign social insurance agencies send totalization material to:

DIO - Totalization P.O. Box 17769 Baltimore, MD 21235

2. FSPs

Foreign Service Posts (FSPs) send RSDI applications accompanied by a totalization application to:

International Benefit Office (IBO), P.O. Box 17775 Baltimore, MD 21235-7769.

3. DIO

The DIO mailroom routes the following material to the modules:

  • totalization inquiries,

  • liaison forms,

  • material addressed to P.O. Box 17049, and

  • any other totalization related material without a specific P.O. Box number.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0201703001
GN 01703.001 - Overview of the Division of International Operations' (DIO) Totalization Responsibilities - 01/23/2017
Batch run: 01/23/2017
Rev:01/23/2017