TN 3 (02-23)

GN 01743.120 U.S. Totalization Benefits under the U.S. - Australian 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 regular U.S. benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can count the NH’s years of "working life residence" in Australia to permit the NH (or any dependents or survivors) to qualify for U.S. Totalization benefits. If the NH has enough QCs under the U.S. system to receive regular U.S. benefits, SSA cannot count Australian years of "working life residence". Under the U.S. – Australian Agreement, the term "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.

  1. 1. 

    Field office (FO) 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 they do not meet the insured status requirement based on U.S. coverage alone, and that we will request the applicant's Australian coverage record.

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

  2. 2. 

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

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

B. Crediting Australian coverage under the Agreement

SSA credits one U.S. QC for every three months or remaining fraction of Australian working life residence in a calendar year. However, we give no credit for:

  • Australian coverage credited for periods prior to 1937;

  • 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 SSA establishes U.S. insured status based on combined U.S. and Australian coverage, SSA computes the amount of the U.S. Totalization benefit 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 01702.320 Routing of Claims for Foreign Benefits

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


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GN 01743.120 - U.S. Totalization Benefits under the U.S. - Australian Agreement - 02/02/2023
Batch run: 02/02/2023