GN 01743.120 U.S. Totalization Benefits under the Australian Agreement
A. POLICY — GENERAL
Under the agreement, if a number holder (NH) has at least 6 U.S. quarters of coverage (QCs) but not enough to be insured for regular U.S. benefits, the NH's years of “working life residence” in Australia 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. Australian “working life residence” means periods of residence in Australia between age 16 and normal retirement age during which the worker was employed or self-employed (see GN 01743.205A.2).
B. POLICY — CREDITING AUSTRALIAN COVERAGE
SSA will credit one U.S. QC for every 3 months or remaining fraction of Australian working life residence in a calendar year. However, no credit will be given for:
any Australian coverage credited for periods prior to 1937, or
any month in a calendar quarter that is already credited as a U.S. QC, or
more than 4 QC's for any calendar year.
C. POLICY — COMPUTING BENEFITS
When U.S. insured status is established based on combined U.S. and Australian coverage, the amount of the U.S. Totalization benefit will be determined using the computation method described in GN 01701.200.
D. POLICY — ADJUDICATION RESPONSIBILITY
Field offices (FOs) are responsible for processing an initial insured status denial (see GN 01702.310 - GN 01702.525) when the worker has at least 6 QC's but is not insured based on U.S. coverage alone. This denial will produce a notice advising the applicant that insured status is not met based on U.S. coverage alone and that the Australian coverage record is being requested. (Processing the initial denial also stops SSA Case Control System (SSACCS) time from accruing.)
The Office of International Operations (OIO) will request the Australian coverage record. When the record is received, OIO will convert the Australian coverage to QC's and finally adjudicate the claim.