Social Security Income and International Agreements

Getting ready to collect your Social Security Benefits? If you spent part of your working life outside of the U.S., you may have more benefits than you think.

The U.S. has concluded Social Security agreements[1] with a number of other countries that help you avoid double taxation if you are still working abroad – but also to help protect your Social Security Income Benefits. That is because your work overseas may help you to qualify for U.S. benefits if that work was covered under a foreign Social Security system.

One of the main purposes of the international agreements is to help people who have worked in both the United States and another country, but who have not worked long enough in one country or the other to qualify for Social Security benefits. Under an international agreement, the U.S. Social Security System will count your work credits in the other country if this will help you qualify for your U.S. benefits. However, if you already have enough credit under U.S. Social Security to qualify for a benefit, they will not count your credits in the other country.

If they do have to count your foreign work credits, you will receive a partial U.S. benefit that is related to the length of time you worked under U.S. Social Security. Although they may count your work credits in the other country, your credits are not actually transferred from that country to the United States. They remain on your record in the other country. It is therefore possible for you to qualify for a separate benefit payment from both countries.

Agreement Countries
CountryEffective Date
AustraliaOct. 1, 2002
AustriaNov. 1, 1991
BelgiumJuly 1, 1984
CanadaAug. 1, 1984
ChileDec. 1, 2001
Czech RepublicJan. 1, 2009
DenmarkOct. 1, 2008
FinlandNov. 1, 1992
FranceJuly 1, 1988
GermanyDec. 1, 1979
GreeceSept. 1, 1994
IrelandSept. 1, 1993
ItalyNov. 1, 1978
JapanOct. 1, 2005
Korea (South)April 1, 2001
LuxembourgNov. 1, 1993
NetherlandsNov. 1, 1990
NorwayJuly 1, 1984
PolandMarch 1, 2009
PortugalAug. 1, 1989
SpainApril 1, 1988
SwedenJan. 1, 1987
SwitzerlandNov. 1, 1980
United KingdomJan. 1, 1985

 

The table lists the countries which the U.S. has Social Security agreements with and shows the effective date of each. Be sure you get credit for foreign-based work you have done in the past.

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[1] http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/international.htm.  As of 1/22/14

 

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