TN 4 (04-22)

GN 01741.020 Korean Social Security Benefits - Eligibility Requirements

A. Introduction

Although the Korean system pays many different categories of benefits, for the purposes of the Agreement, only retirement, survivors, and disability benefits are payable under the National Pension Act.

  • Additionally, Korea's Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Law is also included within the scope of the Agreement, but only for purposes of the provisions that eliminate dual social security coverage and taxation.

  • As a result, a worker who is exempt from Korean laws in accordance with the Agreement, will be exempt, together with his or her employer, from paying Korean social security taxes for the retirement, survivors, and disability program, as well as the industrial accident program.

    These are the only Korean benefits included within the scope of the Agreement.

B. Benefit eligibility requirements

This section provides basic eligibility requirements for Korean retirement, survivors, and disability benefits as well as a lump-sum contributions refunds.

1. Retirement benefits

The eligibility requirements for Korean retirement benefits are as follows:

a. Worker

  • Full benefit as early as age 61 for people born 1953 and after. The full retirement age increases gradually until it reaches age 65 for people born in 1969 or later. At least 20 years of coverage required.

  • Reduced benefit as early as age 61, gradually rising to age 65 by 2034 with at least 10 but less than 20 years of coverage.

  • Early benefit at ages 57, gradually rising to age 60 by 2029 with at least 10 years of coverage if not employed.

  • Benefit for miners and fishermen at age 55. The age increases gradually 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 five 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.

  • Siblings.

  • Collateral blood relatives.

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 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

  • Age 61 with less than 10 years of coverage; or

  • At any age if the insured emigrates permanently; or

  • Loses South Korean citizenship.

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. Contact information

Advise individuals that SSA cannot give official information about Korean benefits.

You may provide the Korean Jongno-Junggu regional office telephone number: 02) 397-9566 and FAX number: 02) 3485-2701.

Individuals who wish to contact the regional office by mail should use the following address:

National Pension Service
15th FL. 173 Toegye-ro
Namsan Square Bldg.
Jung-gu
Seoul 04554
KOREA

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0201741020
GN 01741.020 - Korean Social Security Benefits - Eligibility Requirements - 04/15/2022
Batch run: 04/15/2022
Rev:04/15/2022