What is a Social Security "Totalization Agreement"?

"Totalization Agreements" are a common term for a network of Social Security bilateral agreements with other countries that have programs comparable to Social Security.  They have been designed over the years to account for two main issues:

  • Dual taxation - The situation that occurs when a worker from one country working in another country is essentially required to pay Social Security taxes to both countries on the same earnings. 
  • Gaps in Benefit Protection - The agreements help fill the gaps in benefit protection for workers who have divided their careers between the U.S. and another country. 

More detail is available at https://www.ssa.gov/international/agreements_overview.html