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Social-Security pays off for foreigners

After 9 years I returned to my old country can I collect Social Security in USA now?

by roger chartierRoger Chartier -author of

My old friend lived in Italy when she was younger and came here with a work visa. She worked in the USA for just nine years.

She had heard that you need ten years to collect Social-Security but considering that she had paid a lot into it during her nine working years here she wanted to see if she could get something out of it all at her upcoming retirement.

She usually would need to have 40 credits, and that takes  minimum of 10 years of steady work. One credit = a quarter of a year's work time.

The USA has a deal with some countries as far as shared Social-Security is concerned.


It often can work out well

old woman -

Italy is one of the current 24 such countries so it would be a good idea for her to look into the details of the plan.

It could pay off in partial benefits. It would depend when she was working as Italy started the plan on November 1, 1978 so that before that date her work credits in USA might not apply.

She would have to add credits from USA with credits from Italy.

It is a confusing deal for some, but for others it is easier to understand how to make it work for them.

There are several countries participating in the plan that allows for social-security payments to be made once to the country in which you work.

The SSA gives us this chart.
See them for details on each country's plan.

Countries with
Social Security Agreements
Country Entry into Force
Italy November 1, 1978
Germany December 1, 1979
Switzerland November 1, 1980
Belgium July 1, 1984
Norway July 1, 1984
Canada August 1, 1984
United Kingdom January 1, 1985
Sweden January 1, 1987
Spain April 1, 1988
France July 1, 1988
Portugal August 1, 1989
Netherlands November 1, 1990
Austria November 1, 1991
Finland November 1, 1992
Ireland September 1, 1993
Luxembourg November 1, 1993
Greece September 1, 1994
South Korea April 1, 2001
Chile December 1, 2001
Australia October 1, 2002
Japan October 1, 2005
Denmark October 1, 2008
Czech Republic January 1, 2009
Poland March 1, 2009
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