What Is Bilateral Social Security Agreement
Under certain conditions, a worker may be exempt from coverage in a contracting country, even if he or she has not been transferred directly from the United States. For example, if a U.S. company sends an employee to its New York office to work for 4 years in its Hong Kong office, and then re-opens the employee for an additional 4 years in its London office, the employee may be a member of Social Security under the U.S.U.K. agreement. The rule for the self-employed applies in cases such as this, provided the worker has been seconded from the United States and is under U.S. Social Security for the entire period prior to the transfer to the contracting country. The single-family home rule in U.S. agreements generally applies to workers whose interventions in the host country are expected to last 5 years or less. The 5-year limit for leave for exempt workers is much longer than the limit normally set by agreements in other countries. 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. International social security agreements are beneficial for both those who work today and those whose careers are over.
For current workers, the agreements eliminate the double contributions they might otherwise make to social security plans in the United States and another country. For people who have worked in the United States and abroad and are now retired, disabled or deceased, agreements often result in the payment of benefits to which the worker or family members would not otherwise be entitled. The United States has bilateral social security agreements with 30 countries. The agreements improve the protection of workers who have shared their careers between the United States and another country. In addition, dual social security and taxes on multinational companies and foreign workers will be abolished. Here you will find an overview of the agreements as well as the text and a detailed description of the various agreements. 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 “self-employed” exception, a person temporarily transferred to service for the same employer in another country is covered only by the country from which he or she was seconded.