BASIC (03-01)

GN 01741.020 Korean Social Security Benefits

A. Introduction

Although the Korean system pays many different categories of benefits, this section describes only retirement, survivors and disability benefits payable under the National Pension Act. These are the only Korean benefits included within the scope of the agreement.

B. Policy — Korean eligibility requirements

The eligibility requirements for Korean retirement, survivors and disability benefits as well as a lump-sum refund of contributions are shown below.

1. Retirement Benefits

The eligibility requirements for Korean retirement benefits are as follows:

a. Worker

  • Full benefit as early as age 60 for people born before 1953. The full retirement age increases gradually until it reaches age 65 for people born in 1968 or later. At least 20 years of coverage required.

  • Reduced benefit as early as age 60 with at least 10 years of coverage.

  • Early benefit at ages 55-59 with at least 10 years of coverage if not employed.

  • Benefit for miners and fishermen at age 55. The age increases gradually from 2013 until it reaches age 60 in 2033. At least 3/5 of Korean coverage must be as a miner working underground or a fisherman working aboard a ship or boat.

b. Spouse

No separate provision. However, a supplement may be payable to the worker for a dependent spouse of any age unless the spouse is already receiving another type of pension.

c. Divorced Spouse

  • Divorced spouse at least age 60 can receive a divided portion of the worker's pension corresponding to the duration of marriage.

  • Must have been married to worker for at least 5 years.

d. Child

No separate provision. However, a supplement may be payable to the worker for a dependent child under age 18 or severely disabled.

e. Parent

No separate provision. However, a supplement may be payable to the worker for a dependent parent (including the spouse's parent) at least age 60 or severely disabled.

2. Disability Benefits

The eligibility requirements for Korean disability benefits are as follows:

a. Worker

  • Benefit payable if fully or partially disabled.

  • Must be covered at onset of disability.

  • Benefit paid as a pension or lump sum depending upon degree of disability.

b. Spouse

Same as for spouse of retired worker.

c. Child

Same as for child of retired worker.

d. Parent

Same as for parent of retired worker.

3. Survivors Benefits

For Korean survivors benefits to be payable, the worker must be covered at the time of death or for at least 10 years, and the survivors must have been dependent on the worker at the time of death.

Only one survivor pension is paid, in the following order of priority:

  • Spouse (a widower must be over age 60 or severely disabled).

  • Children under age 18 or severely disabled.

  • Parents (including the spouse's parents) over age 60 or severely disabled.

  • Grandchildren under age 18 or severely disabled.

  • Grandparents (including the spouse's grandparents) over age 60 or severely disabled.

NOTE: If two or more survivors have the same priority rank, the pension is divided equally among them.

4. Lump-Sum Death Benefit

A one-time cash payment is paid to dependent relatives of the deceased worker, provided no survivor is eligible for benefits or a lump-sum refund of contributions.

5. Lump-Sum Refund of Contributions

The eligibility requirements to receive a refund of Korean contributions are as follows:

a. Worker

Less than 10 years of Korean coverage and (l) attainment of age 60 or (2) loss of Korean nationality or (3) permanent emigration from Korea.

b. Survivors

May receive a refund of the worker's contributions if the worker died without sufficient coverage to establish the right to survivors benefits.

C. Procedure

Advise individuals that SSA cannot give official information about Korean benefits. Refer those individuals who want official information to the following address:

National Pension Service
22nd FL. 173 Toegyero
Namsa