TN 1 (06-14)

GN 01739.120 U.S. Totalization Benefits under the Agreement

Under the agreement, if a number holder (NH) has at least six U.S. quarters of coverage (QCs), but not enough to receive regular U.S. benefits, the United States can count the NH's QCs under the Chilean Social Security system to permit the NH to qualify for U.S. totalization benefits. If the NH has enough QCs under the U.S. system to qualify for a benefit, the United States cannot count Chilean credits.

A. Adjudicating claims under the agreement

1. Field Office (FO) responsibilities for claims processing under the agreement

When U.S. coverage does not fully insure a worker, but the worker has at least six QCs, FOs must take an initial claim to process the insured status denial (see GN 01702.315 through GN 01702.325). The initial denial automatically generates a notice to inform the applicant that he or she does not meet the insured status requirement based on U.S. coverage alone, and that we will request the Chilean earnings record.

The Modernized Claims Systems (MCS) screen at the FO displays TOT as the ISSUE and notifies the Division of International Operations (DIO) through the Modernized Development Worksheet (MDW).

For more information about processing totalization insured status notices for claims for U.S. benefits, see GN 01702.315 through GN 01702.325.

2. DIO responsibilities for claims processing under the agreement

DIO requests and converts the Chilean earnings record to U.S. QCs before adjudicating the claim.

B. Crediting Chilean coverage under the agreement

SSA credits one U.S. QC for every three months or remaining fraction of Chilean coverage in a calendar year. Chile measures their coverage in months. SSA does not provide credit for:

  • any Chilean coverage credited for periods prior to 1937; or

  • any month in a calendar quarter that the U.S. credited as a U.S. QC; or

  • more than four QCs for any calendar year.

C. Crediting Chilean non-contributory coverage during hardship or exile

Both Chilean systems grant non-contributory coverage credits to workers if the worker experienced exile or other hardship. The exile or hardship must have interrupted the worker’s career during the period of military rule in Chile from 1973 -1990. The agreement provides that SSA will grant U.S. QCs for Chilean noncontributory credits granted during hardship or exile periods.

SSA will credit U.S. QCs for Chilean noncontributory credits (as described in GN 10739.120B in this section) where necessary to establish entitlement to Totalization benefits. While the Chilean agency can provide the total number of exile credits, they cannot allocate the credits to any specific year(s) in the exile period (1973–1990). SSA will assign these credits to quarters in the exile period that SSA did not post as U.S. QC's or months of Chilean contributory coverage. If SSA can assign the credits to several different quarters, SSA will assign them to the quarters that provide the greatest advantage to the claimant(s).

D. Computing benefits

When SSA establishes U.S. insured status based on combined U.S. and Chilean coverage, SSA computes the amount of the U.S. totalization benefit using the computation method described in GN 01701.200.

E. References

  • GN 01701.200 Totalization Computations

  • GN 01702.305 Developing and Processing Claims Under More than One Totalization Agreement

  • GN 01702.310 Routing Claims for U.S. Benefits Involving Totalization

  • GN 01702.315 Processing Totalization Insured-Status Notices Claims for U.S. Benefits

  • GN 01702.320 Routing Claims for Foreign Benefits

  • GN 01702.325 Summary of Field Office Development and Processing of U.S. Totalization Claims and Foreign Claims (Regular and Totalization)


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