TN 4 (08-15)

GN 01704.570 Obtaining Certified U.S. Earnings Records for Foreign Agencies Except Canadian Agencies

A. The U.S. earnings records

A totalization earnings record (ER) displays all the actual U.S. quarters of coverage (QCs) that a Number Holder (NH) earns during a given period of years. There are no unreconciled #signs and no earnings posted without the actual QC information. Many certified ERs are adequate for totalization needs. However, because the specific number of QCs is essential in computing U.S. totalization benefit amounts, frequently, it will be necessary to obtain a totalization ER even though a recent, certified ER is in the file. Request a totalization ER from:

  • 1937 to date if there is no ER in the file or if the ER shows earnings prior to 1951 but is not adequate for totalization purposes.

  • 1951 to date only if a certified ER in the file shows no earnings prior to 1951 and is not adequate for totalization purposes for some other reason.

B. When totalization earnings records are needed

Request an ER for:

  1. Claims requiring pro rata Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) determinations to compute U.S. totalization benefit amounts.

  2. All claims filed under the Italian agreement.

  3. Claims filed under the German agreement if the existing ER indicates earnings prior to 1951 without exact QC data and does not display at least 14 years (56 QCs) of covered earnings after 1950. (If ER displays at least 14 years (56 QCs) of coverage, do not resolve #signs, but add, “Please advise if you need quarters of coverage information” to the transmittal Form SSA e2960-U2-GE.)

  4. Requests from German agencies for “60 months” when the existing ER does not display at least 20 QCs but does show earnings with incomplete QC data, or if there is no ER in file.

  5. Requests for U.S. ERs in German divorce cases.

  6. All claims for Norwegian pensions filed outside of Norway. However, it is never necessary to request ERs for Norway from 1937. In addition, for retirement claims, Norway does not need earnings information from the U.S. for more than 2 years (8 QCs).

  7. Canadian claims, see GN 01704.571.

NOTE: The Swiss agency never requires an ER. The Belgian agencies rarely require an ER. Therefore, obtain an ER for Belgium only upon request.

C. Requesting certified earnings record for totalization

Follow the steps below when requesting certified ERs for totalization:

  1. SSA Main Menu -  Enter “09” (Master File Query) press enter

  2. Master File Query Menu (MFQM) – Enter “23” ICERS (Info/Cert Earnings Records), press enter

  3. Informational/Certified Earnings Record Menu (ICMN) – Enter NH’s SSN and “1” (Certified Earnings Record for Totalization) press enter

D. Dispatching and diary periods for earnings request responses

If your query response is:

  1. Office of Earnings Operations (OEO) ACTION INPUT - Diary for 60 days and send to the Development Holding File (DHF); or

  2. INTERIM RESPONSES – Diary for 60 days and send to the DHF.

E. Follow-ups to OEO for non-receipt of earnings records

Send to claims authorizer (CA) if the ER is not in file after 60 days, The CA may have to call OEO for assistance. 

See SM 00349.400 Earnings Record Follow-up Procedures for Delayed ICER Requests

F. Railroad earnings involved

1. Determining need to identify railroad service months

If railroad (RR) involvement exists, benefit earnings technicians (BETs) must first determine if there is a need to identify the RR service months (SMs). BETs need not identify SMs if:

  1. Additional QCs cannot be credited because of the RR SMs. (It is known that the SMs are for a period for which QCs are already posted;

  2. There are 12 SMs shown for a calendar year;

  3. The NH has 120 or more SMs or is an Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) annuitant (SSA may not use the RR earnings hence the foreign agency may not); or

  4. The NH is insured for RSDI benefits and the claimant has:

    1. Restricted his or her claim to U.S. benefits;

    2. The NH's ER displays at least 13-1/2 years (54 QCs) without the SMs and the claimant is filing under the German agreement;

    3. The claim was filed under the Swiss agreement and it is neither a claim for disability benefits, nor for orphan's benefits filed on a deceased mother's account;

    4. The claim is a disability claim or an orphan's claim on a deceased mother's account, which is filed under the Swiss agreement, but the year shown in the “YLW” (year last worked) box of block 4 of the ER is 4 years prior to the year of filing (disability claim), or 4 years prior to the mother's death (orphan's claim);

    5. The claim is for Norwegian disability or survivor benefits and the SMs are not needed to fulfill the recent coverage requirement;

    6. The claim is for a Norwegian old-age pension and the ER displays at least 8 QCs without SMs; or

    7. The claim is for Belgian benefits and a Belgian agency has not requested coverage information for the period in which the SMs are showing.

2. Service month identification necessary

The information in the Disability, Railroad, Alien, and Military Service (DRAMS) record is accurate and reliable to identify or verify Railroad SMs. The RRB automatically updates information to the DRAMS record on a weekly basis according to a Computer Matching Agreement (CMA) between SSA and the RRB.

  1. MSOM QUERIES 005.002

  2. MSOM QUERIES 005.003

If the information on the DRAMS record is unclear, SSA personnel should contact the RRB Customer Service Unit to verify RRB entitlement information (RS 01601.100C.2).  The RRB Customer Service Unit telephone numbers are (312) 751-7105 or (312) 751-7106.

Route the file to a CA for converting SMs to QCs. After the CA completes their necessary actions, return to the BET if a claims package must be prepared.

G. Preparing ER for the foreign agency

1. Review of the earnings record before transmission

Once the ER is in the file, review it and take any necessary actions to make certain that you:

  1. Post U.S. MS when required.

  2. Post Lag wages and QCs established as appropriate.

  3. Display QCs for all the necessary periods.

  4. Post RRB earnings (if needed).

  5. #signs are reconciled when necessary. Change #signs to “Gs” in years of maximum earnings.

  6. Change “Ns” to “Gs” in years of maximum earnings.

  7. Change“*s” to “QCs” of the same type as the QCs posted for that year.

2. Additional instructions for Italy

Add the following information to earnings record request for Italy:

  1. Enter the NH's name in the space below “multiple SSNs” in the upper left-hand portion of the ER.

  2. Affix and complete the Italian QC legend (GN 01706.325).

3. Additional instructions for Germany

Affix and complete the German QC legend.

NOTE: Refer questions or problems related to ERs to CAs.

4. Preparing copies of the ER

When the ER is ready for transmission to the foreign agency, prepare a certified photocopy for the claims package and send an image of the document to the file.

H. References

MSOM ICERS 001.004 Informational/Certified Earnings Records – Totalization (ICIC)

SM 00349.001 ICER – Background/Introduction


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0201704570
GN 01704.570 - Obtaining Certified U.S. Earnings Records for Foreign Agencies Except Canadian Agencies - 08/18/2015
Batch run: 08/18/2015
Rev:08/18/2015