TN 4 (04-01)
GN 01709.125 Eligibility for Swiss Benefits under the Agreement
A. Policy — Minimum coverage requirement
The agreement modifies Swiss insured status requirements so that U.S. citizens and certain categories of noncitizens can qualify for Swiss ordinary retirement, survivors and disability benefits if the worker has as little as 1 year of Swiss coverage. (Previous bilateral arrangement had already reduced the usual 10-year Swiss coverage requirement for noncitizens to 5 years for U.S. citizens.)
The 1-year coverage requirement applies to U.S. citizens claiming Swiss retirement or disability benefits as workers. In addition, U.S. citizens can qualify for Swiss dependents or survivors benefits provided the worker (regardless of nationality) has at least 1 year of Swiss coverage.
A person of any nationality may qualify for Swiss benefits as a dependent or survivor of a U.S. or Swiss national or a refugee or stateless person who resides(ed) in the U.S. if:
the claimant resides in the U.S. or Switzerland or another country with which Switzerland has a Social Security agreement, and
the worker has at least 1 year of Swiss coverage.
Since only 1 year of Swiss coverage is required for entitlement to Swiss ordinary benefits under the agreement, Switzerland doesn't count U.S. coverage in determining entitlement to Swiss ordinary benefits. (Note the exceptions to this general rule explained in GN 01709.125B.)
B. Policy — Additional requirements
In addition to the minimum coverage requirement, a recent coverage requirement applies to disability benefits and to orphans benefits where the deceased worker was the mother. Specifically, the worker or deceased worker must have had current coverage under the Swiss system at the time of disability or death. The agreement provides that a U.S. citizen will be deemed to meet the current coverage requirement if he/she:
is entitled to U.S. Social Security benefits, or
has credit for at least 4 quarters of coverage in the 8-quarter period ending with the quarter of disability onset or death or the immediately preceding calendar quarter.
Swiss benefit eligibility requirements, GN 01709.020
Application for benefits under the Swiss agreement, GN 01709.215