10.15.100 USA Glossary


This section contains a list of terms used in and applicable to the Agreement with the USA.

Carer Payment

Under the Agreement, qualification for CP is restricted to a partner who cares for a severely disabled partner who is in receipt of an Age or DSP. CP is not payable to a person who has never been an Australian resident.


Laws in relation to:

  • the USA:
    • means Title II of the Social Security Act and regulations pertaining to this, but excludes sections 226, 226A and 228. It also includes Chapters 2 and 21 of the Revenue Code of 1986.
  • Australia:
    • means the Acts that make up the social security law that applies to Age, DSP, pensions payable to widows and CP. It also applies to the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992, the Superannuation Guarantee Charge Act 1992 and the Superannuation (Administration) Regulations.
Social Security Laws

Social security laws means all the Acts that form the Australian social security law.

Territory of the USA

The Agreement with the USA does not include a definition of the 'territory of the USA'. However, the USA defines it as all areas over which the US exercises sovereignty. For example, the States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Island, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and a number of inhabited and uninhabited islands. If you are unsure whether an area is covered by the Agreement with the USA, contact Centrelink International Services who will liaise with the US Social Security Administration.

United States Period of Coverage

United States period of coverage means a period credited as a quarter of coverage. A 'quarter of coverage' usually represents 3 months of contributions to the US scheme.

US Disability Benefit/s

This is paid to people who meet the US Social Security Administration's definition of disability. The number of credits required to qualify for payment depends on the age of the person when they became disabled. More information on US disability benefit is available from the US Social Security Administration website.

US Retirement Age

Currently this is 65 years. It is gradually increasing to 67 years by 2027. More information on this is available from the US Social Security Administration website.

US Retirement Benefit/s

This benefit is available to people who have reached retirement age, or to people who choose to retire early. The earliest a person can start to receive retirement benefit is 62 years. To qualify for payment a person needs to have 40 credits (equivalent to 10 years of work). The rate a person is paid is based on the average of their earnings over their working career in the USA. Generally, people with low earnings receive a lower rate of benefit. People who access retirement benefit early also receive a lower rate of benefit. More information on US retirement benefit is available from the US Social Security Administration website.

US Survivor Benefit/s

This benefit is paid to certain family members (widows, widowers, children and dependent parents) when someone who has worked and paid into the US social security scheme dies. Like other US benefits, qualification depends on contributions. The age when a person dies will affect the number of contributions required to qualify for survivor benefit. The amount paid depends on average lifetime earnings. More information on US survivor benefit is available from the US Social Security Administration website.

Widowed Person

Widowed person means, in relation to Australia, a person who stops being a partnered person because of the death of the person's partner, but does not include a person who has a new partner.

Last reviewed: 20 September 2017