10.15.5.10 Totalising to Qualify for a USA Benefit

Totalising for a USA benefit

Article 7 of the Agreement covers totalisation in order to qualify for a USA benefit.

Entitlement to a US retirement benefit under the USA Social Security Act is subject to a minimum number of quarters of coverage (40 credits) that is roughly equivalent to 10 years work in the USA. To totalise under the Agreement a person must have a minimum of 6 quarters of coverage in the USA. They can then totalise periods of Australian working life residence during which they were employed and/or self-employed to make up the remaining quarters of coverage. Three months of Australian employment and/or self-employment is equivalent to one quarter of coverage in the USA.

The number of quarters of coverage required to qualify for a US disability benefit will vary depending on when the person became disabled and how recently they stopped accruing quarters of coverage (credits). More information on qualifying for US disability benefits is available from the US Social Security Administration.

Note: While people can use their periods of working life residence in Australia (as defined in Article 1) to help them to qualify for a US benefit, the rate of US benefit is based solely on their actual earnings in the USA. More information is available on the US Social Security Administration website.

Centrelink International Services will verify periods of employment and/or self-employment in Australia on behalf of the USA Social Security Administration.

Act reference: SS(IntAgree)Act Schedule 13 USA

Last reviewed: 9 November 2015