Identification Number:
GN 01741 TN 4
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP ODEPPIN
Title:Agreement with the Republic of Korea
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part GN – General
Chapter 017 – Totalization Benefits
Subchapter 41 – Agreement with the Republic of Korea
Transmittal No. 4, 04/15/2022

Audience

OCO-OEIO: BET, BIES, BTE, CIES, CTE, DSE, FCR, FDE, PETL, RECONE, RECONR, RECOVR;
FO/TSC: CS, CS TII, CSR, CTE, DRT, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

ODEPPIN

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

The Office of Data Exchange, Policy Publications, and International Negotiations is now responsible for negotiating and implementing bilateral Social Security agreements. Accordingly, we are revising existing Totalization POMS sections to account for new component names, addresses, and workload processes. We also updated these instructions to meet the Agency's plain language requirements.

 

Summary of Changes

GN 01741.001 Overview and Effective date of the Totalization Agreement with the Republic of Korea

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection B - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection C - New subsection. Contains information period of coverage.

Subsection D - New subsection. Contains information concerning the summary of the Korean Totalization agreement.

GN 01741.010 Overview of the Korean Social Security System

Archived: Content moved to POMS section GN 01741.001.

 

GN 01741.015 Benefits, Coverage and Contributions under the Korean System

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection B - We revised the heading, and updated the language, and added subtitle two for voluntary contributions.

GN 01741.020 Korean Social Security Benefits - Eligibility Requirements

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection B - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection C - We updated the language, added contact information, and updated the contact address.

GN 01741.105 Effective Date of the U.S.-Korean Agreement

Archived: Content moved to POMS section GN 01741.001.

GN 01741.110 Scope of the U.S. - Korean Agreement

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection B - We revised the heading, and updated the language, and added subtitle two for voluntary contributions.

Subsection C - We updated the references.

GN 01741.120 U.S. Totalization Benefits under the U.S. - Korean Agreement

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A - We revised the heading, and updated the language and added address information for DIO.

Subsection B - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection D - Changed to the References section.

GN 01741.125 Eligibility for Korean Benefits under the U.S. - Korean Totalization Agreement

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection B - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection C - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection D - We updated the References list.

GN 01741.130 Refunds of Korean Contributions

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A and B - We verified the Totalization and DIO processes and updated the language as necessary.

GN 01741.140 Exception to Section 202(t)(1) Alien Nonpayment Provision under the Korean Agreement

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection B - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection C - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection D (New subsection)- We created the heading (Development for dependents and survivors) and updated the language.

Subsection E (New subsection)- We added an extensive list of references.

GN 01741.145 Exception to Section 202(t)(11) Alien Nonpayment Provision under the Korean Agreement

Archived: Content moved to POMS section GN 01741.140.

GN 01741.150 Filing Appeals of Decisions on U.S. or Korean Claims

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection B - We revised updated the References.

GN 01741.205 Evidence Required for U.S. Totalization Benefits under the Korean Agreement

Archived: Content moved to POMS section GN 01741.210.

GN 01741.210 Developing Evidence and Establishing Entitlement Factors in Claims for U.S. and Korean Benefits

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection B - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection C - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection D - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection E - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection F - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection G - We updated the References.

GN 01741.215 Application for Benefits under the U.S. - Korean Agreement

In addition to the specific changes listed below, we updated title. We edited the language (plain language), and made editorial and minor format changes.

Subsection A - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection B - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection C - We revised the heading, and updated the language.

Subsection D - We revised the References.

GN 01741.220 Application Form for Korean Benefits

Archived: Content moved to POMS section GN 01741.215.

 

Conversion Table
Old POMS ReferenceNew POMS Reference
GN 01741.010GN 01741.001
GN 01741.105GN 01741.001
GN 01741.145GN 01745.140
GN 01741.205GN 01741.210
GN 01741.220GN 10741.215

GN 01741.001 Overview and Effective Date of the Totalization Agreement with the Republic of Korea

A. Purpose of the U.S. - Korean Totalization Agreement

The Korean social security system provides a wide range of benefits including retirement, survivors and disability benefits. To qualify for Korean benefits, a worker must meet minimum length-of-coverage or recency-of-work requirements that vary depending on the type of benefit.

The social security Agreement between the United States and Korea:

  • Eliminates dual Social Security coverage and taxation of the same work; and

  • May permit workers (and their dependents and survivors) to qualify for partial U.S. or Korean benefits, even if they do not meet the normal insured status requirements; and

  • May permit entitlement to benefits based on a combination of periods of coverage earned in the United States and Korea.

B. Effective date of the U.S. - Korean Totalization Agreement

The Agreement with Korea became effective April 1, 2001.

C. Periods of coverage

Periods of U.S. and Korean social security coverage a worker earned prior to April 1, 2001, may be used to establish entitlement to U.S. or Korean Totalization benefits. However, the earliest possible date of entitlement to such benefits is April 1, 2001.

D. Summary of the U.S. - Korean Totalization Agreement instructions

This subchapter provides:

  • A brief overview of the Korean system; and

  • An explanation of the Totalization Agreement provisions; and

  • Instructions on how to take and process claims for both U.S. and Korean benefits filed under the Agreement.

NOTE: For additional information, visit the Social Security Around the World website: http://www.ssa.gov/international/links.html. To find out how the Agreement eliminates dual coverage, see sections RS 02001.160 through RS 02001.190.

 

GN 01741.015 Benefits, Coverage, and Contributions under the Korean System

A. Overview of the Korean social security system

The Korean social security system provides a wide range of benefits including retirement, survivors and disability benefits. To qualify for Korean benefits, a worker must meet minimum coverage or recency-of-work requirements that vary depending on the type of benefit. Aside from government workers and those enrolled in occupational pensions, all citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 are required to enroll in the National Pension Service (NPS). The NPS provides lifetime coverage for individuals when they reach an eligible age and when they fulfill their 10-year contribution payment requirement.

The Korea social security system has three components:

  • Social insurance; and

  • Public assistance; and

  • Social welfare service.

    Social security benefits include: national pension, national health insurance, employment insurance, and workers' compensation insurance. These social insurance schemes protect and secure people's income, health and employment. Foreigners who live and work in the country can subscribe and contribute to all four benefits. They may receive the same benefits as Korean nationals; this coverage is also extended to their dependents.

B. Types of contributions

1. Compulsory contributions

The system covers employed and self-employed persons, including farmers and fisherman. In general, the Korean social security system covers all residents of Korea age 18 to 60 who work in Korea, including foreign nationals. Covered employees and their employers, as well as covered self-employed persons, are subject to compulsory contributions.

2. Voluntary contributions

Persons exempt from compulsory coverage with fewer than 20 years of coverage may make voluntary contributions to build future benefit rights. Persons from the age of 18 and less than 60 may become a voluntarily insured person if they submit an application for coverage by the national pension program to the National Pension Service under the conditions as determined by Ordinance of the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs.

NOTE: Government employees, military personnel, and private school teachers are covered under separate, special systems.

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

GN 01741.110 Scope of the U.S. - Korean Agreement

A. Benefit programs included under the U.S. - Korean Agreement

The provisions of the Agreement that permit people to qualify for benefits based on combined U.S. and Korean coverage credits apply to the following types of benefits:

  • Retirement, survivors, and disability benefits under each individual county's system.

  • The Agreement also applies to Korean industrial accident benefits, but only for purposes of the provisions that eliminate dual social security coverage and taxation.

  • The Agreement does not apply to U.S. Medicare benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

B. Social security taxes under the Agreement

The provisions of the Agreement that eliminate dual social security coverage and taxes apply to the following:

  • U.S. Social Security taxes (FICA and SECA), including the Medicare portions of those taxes; and

  • Korean social security taxes that finance retirement, survivors, and disability programs; and

  • The Korean industrial accident program.

C. References

Agreement provisions for the elimination of dual coverage and taxation, RS 02001.950 - RS 02001.998.

 

GN 01741.120 U.S. Totalization Benefits under the U.S. - Korean Agreement

A. Benefit qualification and claims adjudication 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 U.S. benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can count the NH's periods of work under the Korean social security system. These periods may permit the NH (and any dependents or survivors) to qualify for U.S. Totalization benefits. If the NH has enough QCs under the U.S. system to qualify for U.S. benefits, SSA cannot count Korean credits.

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

When a NH does not have enough U.S. coverage to meet fully insured status, but the NH has at least six QCs. FO technicians must take an initial claim to process the insured status denial. 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. It also informs the worker that we will request the applicant’s Korean earnings record.

The FO routes the claim to:

Social Security Administration
Division of International Operations
P.O. Box 17769
Baltimore, MD 21235-7769
FAX number: 410-966-1861

If courier service is used, mail to:

Social Security Administration
Division of International Operations
6100 Wabash Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215

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

2. Division of International Operations (DIO) adjudication responsibilities for processing claims under the Agreement

DIO requests and converts Korean periods of coverage on the Korean earnings record to U.S. QCs before adjudicating the claim.

B. Crediting Korean coverage under the Agreement

Periods of coverage under the U.S. system are measured in terms of calendar quarters while Korean periods of coverage are measured in months. The number of QCs SSA will credit for any calendar year based on Korean coverage will equal the number of months of Korean coverage in the year divided by three, plus one QC for any remaining fraction. SSA will credit one quarter of coverage in a calendar year for every three months of coverage certified for that year by the Korean agency.

However, no credit will be given for:

  • Any month in a calendar quarter that is already credited as a U.S. QC; or

  • More than four QCs for any calendar year.

C. Computing benefits

When U.S. insured status is established based on combined U.S. and Korean coverage, the amount of the U.S. Totalization benefit will be determined using the computation method described in GN 01701.200.

D. References

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

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

GN 01741.125 Eligibility for Korean Benefits under the U.S. - Korean Totalization Agreement

A. Determining eligibility

The Agreement provides that Korea will count a worker's U.S. coverage when determining eligibility for Korean benefits if the worker:

  • Is not insured based on Korean coverage alone; and

  • Has completed at least 18 months of coverage under Korean laws.

B.  Additional coverage requirement

In addition to the minimum coverage requirements, a recent coverage requirement applies to disability and survivors benefits. The worker or deceased worker must have had current coverage under the Korean system at the time of disability or death. The Agreement provides that a worker will be deemed to meet the current coverage requirement if he or she:

  • Was insured for a U.S. Social Security benefit at disability onset or death; or

  • Has credit for at least 4 quarters of coverage (QCs) in the 8-quarter period ending with the calendar quarter of disability onset or death.

C. Crediting U.S. coverage

  • Korea will credit 3 months of coverage for each U.S. QC.

  • However, Korea will not count any month that is already credited as a month of coverage under the Korean system.

D. References

  • GN 01741.020, Korean benefit eligibility requirements.

  • GN 01741.215, Application for benefits under the Korean Agreement.

 

GN 01741.130 Refunds of Korean Contributions

A. Lump-sum benefit

U.S. nationals (by International Agreement), Korean citizens, and former Korean citizens can obtain a refund of contributions to the Korean Social Security system, referred to as a lump-sum benefit, if they have less than 10 years of Korean coverage and have:

  • Attained age 60 (except for the Special Old-age Pension beneficiaries); or

  • Lost Korean nationality; or

  • Permanently emigrated from Korea; or

  • Died (in which case survivors could file).

B. Application process for a refund of Korean contributions

U.S. nationals, Korean citizens and former Korean citizens who wish to apply for a refund of Korean contributions (i.e., a lump-sum benefit) must file Korean application form KOR/USA 1 with their local SSA field office (FO). This is the same application form that is used to apply for other Korean benefits (see GN 01741.215). They must also submit proof of their citizenship (e.g., a U.S. passport).

The FO forwards the KOR/USA 1 and proof of citizenship to the Division of International Operations (DIO) in Baltimore.

DIO forwards the application form and proof of citizenship to the Korean National Pension Corporation (NPC) and sends a notice to the applicant advising him or her that the application form has been sent to the NPC.

The NPC then arranges for a refund of the contributions directly to the individual.

C. Field office claims for a refund of Korean contributions

Take the following steps to process a claim for a refund of Korean contributions:

  1. 1. 

    Provide individuals who wish to apply for a refund of Korean contributions with a copy of application Form KOR/USA 1. The Korean application form is available through the Totalization Benefits Resource Kit .

  2. 2. 

    Print the application form and ask the individual to complete Sections A, E and G and return it to the FO along with proof of citizenship.

  3. 3. 

    Provide any necessary assistance in completing the Korean application form.

  4. 4. 

    When the application is submitted, if the applicant has direct deposit, secure a voided check or a copy of the bank statement.

  5. 5. 

    Upon receipt of the application form and proof of citizenship, photocopy and certify the proof of citizenship and return the original to the individual.

  6. 6. 

    Forward the completed application form and the certified copy of the proof of citizenship to DIO at the following address:

    Social Security Administration
    Division of International Operations
    P.O. Box 17769
    Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7769

  7. 7. 

    Complete the Modernized Development Worksheet (MDW) to show the date the claim was forwarded to DIO. Show “Totalization” as the ISSUE when completing the MDW.

D. Field office applicant status request

When DIO forwards the completed application form and the certified copy of the proof of citizenship to Korea, DIO annotates the MDW to show the type of claim, the date the claim was forwarded and that a notice was sent to the applicant.

Take the following steps if the applicant contacts the FO for the status of his or her Korean claim:

  1. 1. 

    Check the MDW to see if DIO has sent the claim to Korea.

  2. 2. 

    If DIO hasn't completed the MDW, advise the applicant to write directly to DIO at the address shown in GN 01741.130E.5.

  3. 3. 

    If DIO has completed the MDW, advise the applicant to write directly to the Korean agency shown on the notice he or she received from DIO when the claim was forwarded.

E. Report of non-receipt of Korean refund

If the applicant contacts the FO to report non-receipt of the Korean refund, advise the individual to contact the Korean National Pension Corporation directly at the address shown in GN 01741.020C.

GN 01741.140 Exception to Alien Nonpayment Provision (ANP) under the U.S. - Korean Totalization Agreement

A. Exemption for certain non-U.S. citizen beneficiaries residing in Korea

Section 202(t)(1) of the Social Security Act provides that certain non-U.S. citizen beneficiaries will have their benefits suspended once they have been outside the U.S. for more than six months, unless they meet an exception.

One such exception is in section 233(c)(2) of the Act. As explained in GN 01701.150A.1., certain non-U.S. citizen beneficiaries who would otherwise be subject to suspension under section 202(t)(1) are exempt from suspension if they reside in a country with which the United States has a Totalization Agreement. This exemption applies to citizens or residents of Korea who receive regular retirement, survivors or disability benefits, as well as those who receive Totalization benefits.

Note: 

Citizens of the Republic of Korea are exempt from the alien nonpayment provision of section 202(t)(1), regardless of where they reside (see RS 02610.015).

B. Development requirements for certain non-U.S. citizen beneficiaries

If a claimant who does not meet another exception to the alien nonpayment provision alleges residence in Korea, develop residence status to verify that the exemption provided by the Agreement applies.

C. Exemption for non-U.S. citizen dependents and survivors who meet an exception to the ANP provisions

Generally, we do not pay benefits to dependents and survivors who have been outside the United States for more than six months and who first became eligible for the benefits after 1984 (P.L. 98-2 section 340), unless they satisfy certain U.S. residency requirements (Five-year residency rule).

This requirement is based on the provisions of section 202(t)(11) of the Social Security Act. During this five-year residency, the dependent or survivor must have been in a family relationship with the number holder (NH).

However, section 202(t)(11)(E) of the Act exempts citizens or residents of a country with which the United States has a Totalization Agreement from the five-year U.S. residency requirement, unless the Agreement provides otherwise or includes a limitation on the exemption. The U.S.- Korea Agreement does not contain a limitation on this exemption. Therefore, Korean citizens (regardless of where they reside), and non-U.S. citizen beneficiaries who are residents of Korea meeting an exception to the Alien Non-payment Provisions, and who qualify for U.S. dependents or survivors benefits, are exempt from the five-year U.S. residency requirement.

D. Development for dependents and survivors

If a non-U.S. citizen dependent or survivor does not meet the five-year residency requirement and alleges Korean citizenship or residency, the Field Office (FO) should develop for Korean citizenship and residence status to verify that an exemption provided by the Agreement applies (Section 202(t)(1) of the Act).

E. References

  • GN 01701.150A.2 Alien Nonpayment Exemptions under Totalization Agreements.

  • GN 01702.220 - GN 01702.230 Developing Citizenship and Residence status.

  • GN 01702.225 Evidence of Status as Refugee or Stateless Person.

  • RS 02610.000 Alien Nonpayment Provisions.

  • RS 02610.010 Exceptions to Alien Nonpayment.

  • RS 02610.015 Status of Countries for Alien Nonpayment Provision (ANP) Exceptions Based on Citizenship.

  • RS 02610.025 Five-Year Residency Requirement for Alien Dependents and Survivors Outside the United States (U.S.).

  • RS 02610.030 Five-Year Residency Requirements for Spouses, Natural Child, Adopted Child, and a Parent.

GN 01741.150 Filing Appeals of Decisions on U.S. or Korean Claims

A. Appeals policy

The Agreement provides that persons who wish to appeal a decision on a claim for U.S. or Korean benefits may file a timely written appeal with either country. The appropriate agency of the country whose decision is being appealed would consider the appeal based on its own laws and procedure. However, only the country that made the original decision will review the appeal.

B. References

See GN 01702.500 through GN 01702.505 for instructions on filing an appeal of a decision on a U.S. or Korean claim.

 

 

GN 01741.210 Developing Evidence and Establishing Entitlement Factors in Claims for U.S. and Korean Benefits

A. Evidence requirements

When a person files for U.S. Totalization benefits under the Agreement with Korea, he or she must submit the same evidence required to file a claim for retirement, survivors or disability insurance (non-Totalization) benefits. The applicant must also submit the evidence noted in GN 01702.200 through GN 01702.230 when claiming Totalization benefits from the United States.

B. SSA accepts applications for benefits

Under the Agreement with Korea, SSA accepts applications for regular and Totalization benefits on behalf of Korea. SSA also provided limited assistance in obtaining the required evidence to support the applicant's claim.

C. Using evidence previously submitted in claims for U.S. benefits

Applicants do not need to resubmit the evidence previously submitted and verified to establish factors of entitlement for U.S. Social Security benefits. The evidence previously submitted for entitlement to U.S. Social Security benefits is sufficient to establish the same factors of entitlement to Korean benefits.

D. Establishing entitlement factors

In addition to insured status, evidence of the following is required to support applications for Korean benefits:

1. Required evidence when filing an application for retirement benefits

When a worker files an application for retirement benefits, obtain the following evidence:

  • Worker's date of birth; and

  • Worker's Korean insurance number; and

  • Marital status, if spouse's supplement is claimed; and

  • Family composition; and

  • Dates of birth of all family members; and

  • Age and relationship of child, disability status, and school attendance if a child's supplement is claimed; and

  • Age, marriage and divorce, if divorced spouse's benefit is claimed; and

  • Age and relationship of parent, if parent's (or spouse's parent's) supplement is claimed; and

  • Disability status of all family members.

2. Required evidence when filing an application for survivors benefits

When a person files an application for survivors benefits, obtain the following evidence:

  • Worker's Korean insurance number; and

  • Worker's date of birth; and

  • Date and proof of death of the worker; and

  • Date of marriage or partnership registration (if surviving spouse/divorced spouse or surviving registered/dissolved registered partner's benefit claim); and

  • Widower's age and disability status; and

  • Age or disability status of child or grandchild (if child's benefits claimed); and

  • Age or disability status of parents or grandparents (including spouse's parents or grandparents).

3. Developing evidence in support of an application for disability benefits

Entitlement factors for Korea are based on the degree of the worker's disability. Medical evidence must support the disability.

Take the following actions when developing evidence to support applications for Korean benefits:

  • Worker's date of birth; and

  • Worker's Korean insurance number; and

  • Degree of disability (medical evidence required); and

  • Marriage, if spouse's supplement is claimed; and

  • Age, marriage and divorce, if divorced spouse's benefit is claimed; and

  • Age and relationship of child, if child's supplement is claimed; and

  • Age and relationship of parent, if parent's (or spouse's parent's) supplement is claimed.

E. Developing medical evidence for Korean benefits

Refer to the following policy if the applicant requests guidance on the types of evidence to submit:

1. Accepting evidence

The applicant must submit the evidence noted in GN 01702.200 - GN 01702.230 whenever Totalization benefits are claimed from Korea.

  • SSA accept any medical evidence the applicant wishes to submit; and

  • If the applicant does not want to release an original document, photocopy the evidence and certify the copy; and

  • Do not attempt to secure evidence for the applicant or offer advice as to what types of evidence Korea may need; and

  • Send all submitted medical evidence and the claims file to OEIO at the following address:

    Social Security Administration
    OEIO - DIO
    P.O. Box 17769
    Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7769
    USA
    FAX number: 410-966-1861

    Note: 

    If courier service is used, mail to:

    Social Security Administration
    Division of International Operations
    6100 Wabash Avenue
    Baltimore, MD 21215

  • Complete the Modernized Development Worksheet (MDW) screen to show the date the FO sent the Korean claim to DIO. Show "Totalization" as the ISSUE; and

  • Inform the applicant that the responsible Korean agency will contact him or her directly to obtain any further documents or evidence to make a determination.

CAUTION: Do not hold claims for Korean benefits for prolonged periods pending receipt of evidence. If an applicant is unable to obtain needed evidence within a reasonable time, transmit the claim to the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO) without the evidence. Advise the applicant that the responsible Korean agency will contact him or her directly to obtain any needed evidence.

2. Research the types of evidence

If the applicant requests guidance on the type of evidence to submit, see these references:

3. Document the File

Document the file as follows:

  • Indicate on the Korean benefit claim file any factor of entitlement verified previously for the U.S. claim; and

  • For concurrent Title II claims, send the Title II claim and relevant evidence to the Program Service Center (PSC) of jurisdiction; and

  • Electronically send a certified photocopy of the relevant evidence with the Korean claim to DIO.

4. Obtain the Number Holder's (NH) U.S. earnings record

Obtain the NH's U.S. earnings record in all claims for Korean benefits as follows:

  • When the applicant is filing for both U.S. and Korean benefits, complete the Modernized Claims System (MCS) screens; and

  • The MCS screens will automatically generate a separate earnings record for the Korean claim; and

  • When the applicant files for Korean benefits only, which is an MCS exclusion, request an Informational/Certified Earnings Record (ICERS) per MS ICERS 02101.004; and

    • Obtain proof of lag earnings (unposted paid earnings in the current or preceding year) if the applicant alleges U.S. covered work in the lag period and is filing for any Korean benefit; and

  • For proof of lag wages, see RS 01404.005 and RS 01404.018; and

  • For proof of lag self-employment income, see RS 01804.100D.

F. Developing medical evidence for Korean disability claims

In addition to the actions in GN 01705.210E, take the following actions when developing medical evidence for Korean disability claims:

1. Korean Benefits Only

  • Accept any medical evidence the applicant submits. Do not attempt to secure evidence for the applicant or offer advice as to what types of evidence Korea may need; and

  • Send all submitted medical evidence and the claims file to OEIO at the following address:

Social Security Administration
OEIO - DIO
P.O. Box 17769
Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7769
USA
FAX number: 410-966-1861

Note: 

If courier service is used, mail to:

Social Security Administration
Division of International Operations
6100 Wabash Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215
  • Complete the Modernized Development Worksheet (MDW) screen to show the date the FO sent the Korean claim to DIO. Show "Totalization" as the ISSUE.

  • Transmit the file without medical evidence if the evidence is not readily available. Advise the applicant that the Korean agency will contact him or her directly to obtain any required evidence.

2. Korean Benefits and Concurrent Title II Claim

To process claims for Korean disability benefits and concurrent Title II disability claims, follow the instructions in GN 01702.400 - GN 01702.415.

G. References

GN 00301.105, Certifying evidence for Totalization claims.

GN 00302.000, Proof of Age.

GN 00304.000, Proof of Death.

GN 00305.000, Proof of Marital Relationship.

GN 00306.000, Child Relationship and Dependency.

GN 01702.110, Application for Benefits under a U.S. International Social Security (Totalization) Agreement (Form SSA-2490-BK).

GN 01702.400, Developing Medical Evidence in Claims for U.S. Totalization Disability Benefits.

GN 01702.415, Development of Medical Evidence and Routing of Claims for Foreign Disability Benefits.

MS 02101.004, Informational/Certified Earnings Records - Totalization (ICIC).

MS 03507.001, Introduction to SSA-2490 - Overview.

MS 03509.011, Totalization (TOTL) screen.

RS 01301.000, Living With, Contributions and One-Half Support.

RS 01404.005, Lag earnings.

 

GN 01741.215 Application for Benefits under the U.S. - Korean Agreement

A. Filing for benefits using multiple application forms

1. Form SSA-2490-BK

An applicant filing for benefits under the U.S. - Korean Agreement must complete Form SSA-2490-BK (Application For Benefits Under a U.S. International Social Security Agreement), and any appropriate retirement, survivors or disability insurance application(s), and the special Korean application form. The Korean application form, along with instructions on how to complete the application, is available through the Totalization Benefits Resource Kit.

It is necessary to complete the Form SSA-2490-BK if the applicant is filing for any benefits under the Agreement: this could include benefits only from the United States, benefits only from Korea, or benefits from both countries.

An applicant who is filing for Korean benefits only, and NOT for benefits under the Agreement must complete the Korean application, but does not need to complete Form SSA-2490-BK.

2. Special Korean application forms

In addition to Form SSA-2490-BK, an applicant for Korean benefits under the U.S. - Korean Agreement must complete one or more special Korean application forms. SSA Field Offices (FO) do not accept special Korean application forms.

After receiving a claim for Korean benefits filed with SSA, the Korean agency will:

  • Mail the appropriate Korean application forms to the applicant; and

  • Include instructions for the applicant to complete the Korean application forms, so the applicant can mail the forms directly to the Korean agency (along with any additional required evidence).

B. Using the Modernized Claims System (MCS) version of Form SSA-2490-BK

Use the following information to determine which applications require completion (on select screens) when taking claims for U.S. Totalization benefits or Korean benefits under the Agreement with Korea.

1. When to use the Form SSA-2490-BK in MCS

Form SSA-2490-BK (Application for Benefits under a U.S. International Social Security Agreement) is available through MCS. The MCS version of Form SSA-2490-BK is an option for filing only when the number holder (NH) is filing for:

  • U.S. retirement or disability Totalization benefits only; or

  • U.S. retirement or disability benefits (regular or Totalization) and concurrently for Korean benefits.

2. When not to use the Form SSA-2490-BK in MCS

Do not use the MCS version of Form SSA-2490-BK when the applicant is filing for:

  • Korean benefits only; or

  • U.S. or Korean survivors benefits.

    Use the paper or electronic Form SSA-2490-BK for Totalization survivor claims. For instructions on how to complete the Form SSA-2490-BK, see GN 01702.110.

    NOTE: It is not necessary to take a Form SSA-2490-BK in claims for U.S. auxiliary benefits in life cases or in survivor cases where there was a previously approved award in a life case, since the NH previously completed one in connection with his or her application for benefits. The MCS version of the Form SSA-2490-BK may not be used to file for U.S. Totalization survivors benefits. A paper or electronic (e-form) Form SSA-2490-BK must be used in this case.

3. Completing the required Form SSA-2490-BK screens in MCS

Use the following information to determine the application screens to complete when taking claims under the Agreement with Korean for U.S. Totalization or Korean benefits.

a. U.S. Totalization benefits only

  • In retirement or disability applications, complete the appropriate MCS application screens, the Totalization (TOTL) screen (see MS 03509.011), and the Form SSA-2490-BK screens (see MS 03507.001).

  • In survivor claims, complete the appropriate MCS application screens, the Totalization (TOTL) screen (see MS 03509.011) and Part I of the paper or electronic Form SSA-2490-BK.

b. Korean benefits only (regular or Totalization)

 

Complete Parts I and II of the paper or electronic Form SSA-2490-BK since applications for Korean benefits only (regular or Totalization) are MCS exclusions.

c. Korean benefits (regular or Totalization) and U.S. benefits (regular or Totalization)

  • For retirement or disability applications, complete the appropriate MCS application screens, the Totalization (TOTL) screen (See MS 03509.011), and the Form SSA-2490-BK screens (See MS 03507.001).

  • For survivors applications, complete the appropriate MCS application screens, the Totalization (TOTL) screen (see MS 03509.011), and both parts of the two-part paper or electronic Form SSA-2490-BK.

C. Field Office (FO) procedure for processing special application forms

 

1. The application process

Along with the Form SSA-2490-BK, an applicant for Korean benefits under the U.S. - Korean Agreement must complete one or more special Korean application forms.

FOs do not accept special Korean application forms.

The Korean application form, along with instructions on how to complete the application, is available through the Totalization Benefits Resource Kit.

2. Procedure for filing an application

If an applicant brings Korean special application form(s) (or Form SSA-2490-BK) to the FO, the FO should:

  • Accept, photocopy, and certify the photocopied application; and

  • Photocopy and certify any additional documents (evidence) the Korean agency requested the applicant to include with the Korean claim; and

  • Request an "Informational/Certified Earnings Record" (ICERS) as described in MS ICERS 02101.004; and

  • Return to the applicant any original evidence documents and the certified photocopy of the application; and

  • Send the original Korean application and any certified photocopies or additional claims material to the Division of International Operations (DIO) in Baltimore at the following address:

Social Security Administration
Division of International Operations
P.O. Box 17769
Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7769
FAX number: 410-966-1861

NOTE: If courier service is used, mail to:

Social Security Administration
Division of International Operations
6100 Wabash Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21215

Once DIO receives the claim, they will send the claim directly to the Korean agency along with the evidence and the worker's U.S. earnings record. DIO will annotate the MDW to show the type of claim and the date they forwarded the claim to the Korean agency.

When DIO receives the Form SSA-2490-BK, they will send a notice to the applicant explaining this requirement to file another application and referring the applicant to the nearest Korean consulate or the Korean Embassy if necessary. If the applicant is a non-Korean citizen, advise the applicant that DIO will mail another application form to him or her to complete and return to DIO.

D. References

  • GN 01702.110, Application for Benefits under a U.S. International Social Security (Totalization) Agreement (Form SSA-2490-BK).

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

  • MS 03507.001, Introduction to SSA-2490-BK - Overview.

  • MS 03509.011, TOTALIZATION (TOTL) screen.


GN 01741 TN 4 - Agreement with the Republic of Korea - 4/15/2022