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How international agreements can help you

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If you are among the growing number of Americans who spend part of their career working outside the U.S., you may wonder what effect this will have on your Social Security taxes and benefits. Fortunately, the United States has concluded Social Security agreements with a number of other countries that help you avoid double taxation while working abroad and also help protect your future benefit rights.

Your work overseas may help you to qualify for U.S. benefits if it 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 the other country, but who have not worked long enough in one country or the other to qualify for Social Security benefits. Under the agreement, we can count your work credits in the other country if this will help you qualify for U.S. benefits. However, if you already have enough credit under U.S. Social Security to qualify for a benefit, we will not count your credits in the other country.

If we 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 we 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.

For more information about the agreements, including details about specific agreements in force, read

If you will receive a pension from a foreign government based on your work, the amount of your Social Security benefit may be affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

Agreement Countries
Effective Date
Oct. 1, 2002
Nov. 1, 1991
July 1, 1984
Aug. 1, 1984
Dec. 1, 2001
Nov. 1, 1992
July 1, 1988
Dec. 1, 1979
Sept. 1, 1994
Sept. 1, 1993
Nov. 1, 1978
Oct. 1, 2005
Korea (South)
April 1, 2001
Nov. 1, 1993
Nov. 1, 1990
July 1, 1984
Aug. 1, 1989
April 1, 1988
Jan. 1, 1987
Nov. 1, 1980
United Kingdom
Jan. 1, 1985

For more information about other agreements, read How International Agreements Can Help You.

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Last reviewed or modified Friday Sep 12, 2008
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