TN 4 (07-96)
GN 01707.120 U.S. Totalization Benefits
A. Policy — general
Under the agreement, if an NH has at least 6 quarters of U.S. coverage but not enough to be insured for regular U.S. benefits, the NH's coverage credits under the German Social Security system can be added to his or her U.S. coverage to permit the NH (or any dependents or survivors) to qualify for U.S. totalization benefits.
B. Policy — Crediting German coverage
SSA will credit one U.S. quarter of coverage for every 3 months of German coverage in a calendar year (German coverage is measured in terms of months), but will not credit:
any German coverage credited for periods before 1937, or
any month in a calendar quarter that is already credited as a U.S. quarter of coverage, or
more than 4 quarters of coverage for any calendar year.
NOTE: Germany certifies to SSA periods of coverage earned in the territory that formerly comprised both East and West Germany. SSA will credit these periods as quarters of coverage — as shown above — whether the credit is from former East or West Germany.
C. Policy — Using German periods of total disability
When determining entitlement to U.S. totalization benefits, SSA will treat periods of total disability under German law the same as periods of disability under U.S. law for the purpose of establishing the number of QC's required for insured status and the number of computation years. If entitlement is not based in part on German coverage, German periods of disability may not be used for any purpose.
Periods of total disability under German law will not be used to establish the benchmark year. The benchmark year must be established based on the prior entitlement to a U.S. disability benefit or the month of onset under U.S. law, attainment of age 62 or death.
D. Policy — computing benefits
1. Before March 1, 1988
For claims adjudicated prior to March 1, 1988, the agreement provided that totalization benefits would be computed using a computation method that is now obsolete and no longer described in the POMS.
2. After February 29, 1988
For claims adjudicated after February 29, 1988, the agreement (as modified by a supplementary agreement) provides that totalization benefits will be computed using the computation method described in GN 01701.200. This method is used for claims adjudicated after February 29, 1988, regardless of the effective date of the computation.
The computation method described in GN 01701.200 is also used for all recomputations performed March 1, 1988, or later. This is true regardless of the effective date of the recomputation, i.e., even if the claim was originally adjudicated before March 1, 1988, using the prior computation method mentioned in 1. above.
A recomputation will not be done solely to change the computation method from the prior method to the new method. There must be additional U.S.-covered earnings before a recomputation may be considered.
4. Reopening claims
Claims adjudicated prior to March 1, 1988, cannot be reopened for the sole purpose of changing the computation method to the new method in GN 01701.200.
E. Policy — adjudication responsibility
The Office of International Operations (OIO) is responsible for converting German coverage to U.S. QC's and adjudicating claims for U.S. totalization benefits when the worker has at least 6 QC's but is not insured based on U.S. coverage alone.