Social Security Totalization Agreement

Any agreement (with the exception of the agreement with Italy) provides an exception to the territorial rule, which aims to minimize disruptions in the career of workers whose employers temporarily send abroad. Under this exception for "self-employed workers," a person temporarily transferred to work for the same employer in another country is covered only by the country from which he or she was seconded. A U.S. citizen or resident, for example, who is temporarily transferred by a U.S. employer to work in a contract country, remains covered by the U.S. program and is exempt from host country coverage. The worker and employer only pay contributions to the U.S. program. If you have any questions about international social security agreements, please contact the Office of International Social Security Programs at 410-965-3322 or 410-965-7306. However, do not call these numbers if you want to inquire about a right to an individual benefit.

In addition to improving the social security of working workers, international social security agreements help ensure continuity of benefit protection for people who have received social security credits under the U.S. system and another country. As a precautionary measure, it should be noted that the derogation is relatively rare and is invoked only in mandatory cases. There are no plans to give workers or employers the freedom to regularly choose coverage that contradicts normal contractual rules. In recent years, attempts have been made to advance legislative proposals to amend Section 233 to broaden the scope of totalization to the benefit of U.S. interests, while maintaining the program`s traditional focus on actuarial balance and fiscal prudence. However, such legislative proposals have not been highly appreciated and, to date, totalisation partnerships continue to focus on Europe, with a few notable exceptions. The labour shortage in Europe, just after the Second World War, led to an unprecedented period of labour immigration. As a result, many workers have found themselves in an unusual position to divide their careers between two countries, often with ambiguous rules on tax debt.