People who work in another country do so for a variety of reasons. Some work abroad to pursue better opportunities for their careers while others simply want a change of environment or pace. However, in the unfortunate event that a U.S. citizen gets injured and becomes disabled while working at a company headquarters in Canada where he has been assigned in the last couple of years, the question of whether or not he is entitled to social security disability (SSD) benefits when he comes home enters the picture.
SSD Eligibility for Individuals Who Worked Abroad
To be eligible for disability insurance, an individual in another country must have worked for a company that paid taxes, also referred to as FICA taxes, to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Self-employed individuals, on the other hand, must have paid self-employment or SECA taxes to the SSA to have SSD coverage. You may also be eligible for SSD benefits if you worked in a country with totalization agreements with the U.S.
The Practicality of Totalization Agreements
Totalization agreements ensure that an employee doesn’t lose social security protection abroad. These agreements are international Social Security agreements between the U.S. and other countries, such as Canada, Germany, France, and Japan, which have similar or comparable Social Security systems. This prevents double Social Security taxation for people who have careers in the U.S. and abroad. This means that an overseas worker covered under the U.S. Social Security system is entitled to all the same disability benefits as a worker who has never been employed abroad. Coverage will depend on the terms of the totalization agreement between the foreign country and the United States.
U.S. International Social Security Agreements, SSA.gov