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:

Country Effective Date
Italy November 1, 1978
Germany December 1, 1979
Switzerland November 1, 1980
Norway July 1, 1984
Belgium July 1, 1984
Canada August 1, 1984
United Kingdom January 1, 1985 (Benefit provisions - January 1, 1988)
Sweden January 1, 1987
Spain April 1, 1988
France July 1, 1988
Portugal August 1, 1989
Netherlands November 1, 1990
Austria November 1, 1991
Finland November 1, 1992
Ireland September 1, 1993
Luxembourg November 1, 1993
Greece September 1, 1994
South Korea April 1, 2001
Chile December 1, 2001
Australia October 1, 2002
Japan October 1, 2005
Denmark October 1, 2008
Czech Republic January 1, 2009
Poland March 1, 2009
Slovak Republic May 1, 2014
Hungary September 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. a. 

    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. b. 

    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. c. 

    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