PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEMPart GN – GeneralChapter 017 – Totalization BenefitsSubchapter 01 – Totalization Benefits - GeneralTransmittal No. 11, 02/06/2019
This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.
Summary of Changes
GN 01701.005 International Social Security (Totalization) Agreements
Subsection B - We are including four recent totalization agreements effective dates with Brazil, Iceland, Slovenia, and Uruguay.
Section 233 of the Social Security Act authorizes the President to enter into bilateral agreements with foreign countries to provide for limited coordination of the U.S. Social Security program with certain social insurance programs of foreign countries. These international social security agreements are often referred to as Totalization agreements.
The United States has Totalization agreements in force with the following countries as of the effective dates shown:
October 1, 2008
January 1, 2009
September 1, 2016
March 1, 2009
NOTE: The agreement with the United Kingdom was implemented in two stages: (1) the provisions for elimination of dual coverage and taxation became effective January 1, 1985; and (2) the benefit provisions became effective January 1, 1988.
The provisions described in the following subsections are common to most U.S. Totalization agreements. Special provisions that apply only under specific agreements are explained in the appropriate agreement subchapter.
The agreements eliminate dual social security coverage and taxation, the situation that occurs when a person from one country works in another country and is required to pay social security taxes to both countries for the same earnings. The agreements include rules that assign a worker’s coverage to one country’s system or the other (but not both).
Totalization benefit provisions help eliminate situations where workers fail to qualify for social security benefits because they have divided their careers between the United States and a foreign country. Under an agreement, workers may qualify for partial U.S. or foreign benefits, called Totalization benefits, based on credits in both countries.
The agreements exempt certain beneficiaries from suspension of benefit payments under the alien nonpayment provisions of section 202(t) of the Social Security Act.
Administrative assistance provisions in each agreement provide that the Social Security Administration and the social security agency of the other country will assist each other in administering the agreement. In general, this assistance involves taking benefit applications on behalf of the other country and exchanging claims-related information and evidence. (The individual agreement subchapters explain what types of assistance will be given under each agreement.)
NOTE: Each country’s agency continues to adjudicate and award and pay benefits independently of the other.
Each agreement provides that an application for benefits from one country may be filed with the agency of the other country. Similarly, an appeal of one country’s decision on a claim may be filed with the other country.
GN 01701.150 Alien nonpayment exemptions
RS 02001.000 through RS 02002.000 Elimination of dual coverage and taxation
GN 01701.100 Totalization benefit overview