To qualify for benefits under the U.S. Social Security program, a worker must have earned enough work credits, known as insurance quarters, to meet the “insurance status requirements” specified. For example, a worker who turns 62 in 1991 or later generally needs 40 calendar terms to be insured for old age pensions. As part of a totalization agreement, SSA accounts for periods of coverage acquired by the worker under the social security program of a contracting country when a worker has some U.S. insurance coverage but is not sufficient to qualify for benefits. Similarly, a country that is a party to an agreement with the United States takes into account a worker`s coverage under the U.S. program when it is required for that country`s social security benefits. If the combined credits in the two countries allow the worker to meet the eligibility requirements, a partial benefit may be paid depending on the proportion of the worker`s total career in the paying country. The detached house rule may apply if the U.S.
employer transfers a worker to work at a foreign branch or in one of its foreign subsidiaries. However, in order for U.S. coverage to continue when a transferred employee works for a foreign subsidiary, the U.S. employer must have entered into a Section 3121 (l) agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department with respect to the foreign subsidiary. 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. To obtain a Social Security replacement card or to change your name on your Social Security number, you must first complete the application form for the Social Security number SS-5 FS. All SSN applications, whether original, replacement or name or data change, use the same form, SS-5 FS. Page 2 of the SS-5 FS form contains the required proof requirements for an original number, a Social Security replacement card, a name change or a change of data. You can also find information about the documentation required in www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ss5doc.htm.