SSR 77-15: Section 202(t)—Non Payment of Benefits—Alien Beneficiaries Outside the United States
20 CFR 404.460 and 404.463
THIS RULING SUPERSEDES SSR 64-55, C.B. 1964, p. 76, SSR 65-52, C.B. 1965, p. 79, SSR 66-41, C.B. 1966, p. 81, SSR 67-5, C.B. 1967, p. 94, SSR 67-37, C.B. 1967, p. 95, SSR 69-20, C.B. 1969, p. 70, SSR 71-31, C.B. 1971, p. 44, and SSR 75-17, C.B. 1975, p. 74.
Whether alien persons otherwise entitled to retirement, survivors, and disability benefits under sections 202 and 223 of the Act may be paid such benefits for months in which they are outside the United States, depends upon several factors, including their citizenship status and the countries in which they reside. This ruling summarizes the provisions of section 202(t) of the Social Security Act, as amended, concerning restrictions on payment of benefits to alien beneficiaries outside the United States. It also lists the countries which have been found, as of September 30, 1976, to meet the requirements of section 202(t)(2)(A) and (B); the countries which do not meet the requirements of section 202(t)(2)(A), and the countries which meet the requirements of section 202(t)(2)(A) only.
Citizens or nationals of the United States otherwise entitled to retirement, survivors, or disability insurance benefits under sections 202 and 223 of the Social Security Act may continue to receive their benefits while outside the United States, subject generally to the same conditions as beneficiaries who are in the United States, and subject further to the provisions of sections 203(c) and (d) of the Social Security Act (concerning deductions which may be required for noncovered remunerative activity outside the United States) and to regulations of the Department of the Treasury governing the payment of U.S. checks and warrants abroad.
However, whether benefits are payable to alien beneficiaries outside the United States (including persons who have lost or given up their United States citizenship) depends, in addition, on the applicability of the alien nonpayment provisions contained in section 202(t) of the Act, as amended.
ALIEN NONPAYMENT PROVISIONS
Section 202(t) of the Act provides in effect that, subject to exceptions discussed below, monthly retirement, survivors, and disability insurance benefits may not be paid to an alien beneficiary for any month which occurs (1) after he has been outside the United States throughout 6 consecutive calendar months and (2) before the first calendar month throughout which he has been in the United States. For purposes of the preceding sentence, after an alien beneficiary is outside the United States for any period of 30 consecutive days, he is deemed to be "outside the United States" continuously, until he has returned to and remained in the United States for 30 consecutive days. Thus, an alien beneficiary who meets none of the exceptions must either return to the United States at least every 30 days, or for 30 consecutive days during each 6-month period, in order to continue to draw benefits.
No lump-sum death payment may be made on the earnings record of an alien worker who dies outside the United States if that worker could not by reason of section 202(t) be paid benefits for the month before the month of his death.
Section 202(t)(10) of the Act provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of title II, benefits will not be paid to an alien for any month beginning July 1968 in which he resides in a country to which the mailing of U.S. Government checks has been prohibited by the Treasury Department pursuant to the Act of October 9, 1940 (31 U.S.C. 123). Such prohibition is currently in effect in the following areas:
|Peoples Republic of China||East Germany|
|Cambodia (Khmer Republic)||Russian Section of Occupation of Berlin|
The Social Security Amendments of 1967 (P.L. 90-248, sec. 162(c)(3) provide (in the case of an alien residing in a restricted country) that payment of any accrued benefits which are being withheld by the Treasury Department on June 30, 1968, may not exceed an amount equivalent to the last 12 months' benefits. Such payment may be made only to the entitled individual, or if he is deceased, only to a person entitled to monthly benefits on the same earnings record as the deceased for the month in which he died. In no case can such payments be made until the payee is in an unrestricted area.
EXCEPTIONS TO ALIEN NONPAYMENT PROVISIONS
An alien beneficiary may, however, receive his benefits no matter how long he remains outside the United States, if section 202(t)(10) above is not applicable, and any one of the following exceptions is met:
The beneficiary was, or could upon filing application have become, entitled on the same earnings record to a monthly benefit for December 1956, under section 202 of the Act; or
The worker on whose earnings record the benefit is based had been in service covered by the Railroad Retirement Act which was treated as employment covered by the Social Security Act pursuant to section 5(k)(1) of the Railroad Retirement Act; or
The beneficiary is outside the United States while in the active military or naval service of the United States; or
The beneficiary is entitled as a survivor on the earnings record of a worker who either (1) died while in the military service of the United States, or (2) died as the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the military service of the United States and he was discharged or released from such service under conditions other than dishonorable; or
The withholding of benefits would be contrary to an existing treaty obligation in effect on August 1, 1956, between the United States and the country of which the beneficiary is a citizen.
The Secretary has determined that the Treaties of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation between the United States and the following eight countries constitute "treaty obligations" within the meaning of exception (E) above:
Germany, Federal Republic of (West Germany) Israel Netherlands (with respect to survivors benefits only) Greece Italy Nicaragua Ireland Japan
The effect of this determination is that alien beneficiaries who are citizens of these countries will not be denied the benefits for which they have qualified (subject to the limitations noted with respect to the Netherlands), regardless of the duration of their absence from the United States.
The beneficiary is a citizen of a country which the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare has found to have in effect a social insurance or pension system of general application which pays periodic benefits (or their actuarial equivalent) on account of old age, retirement, or death (sec. 202(t)(2)(A)) and such benefits are payable without restriction to otherwise eligible citizens of the United States while outside the country, regardless of the duration of their absence (sec. 202(t)(2)(B)); or
The worker on whose earnings record the benefit is based either resided in the United States for a period or periods of time aggregating 10 years or more or acquired at least 40 quarters of coverage under the Social Security Act before the month for which the benefit is payable.
Under section 20(t)(4) of the Act, however, exception (G) above is not available for any month after June 30, 1968, to an alien outside the United States who is a citizen of a country which (1) had in effect a social insurance or pension system of general application which pay periodic old-age, retirement, or death benefits, but does not pay such benefits to otherwise qualified U.S. citizens while outside the country; or (2) has no social insurance or pension system of general application, if at any time within 5 years prior to January 1968 (or the first month thereafter for which his benefits are subject to suspension because of absence from the United States), payments to individuals residing in that country were withheld by the Treasury Department under the Act of October 9, 1940 (31 U.S.C. 123) referred to supra.
LIST OF COUNTRIES ON WHICH DETERMINATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE
To date, the Secretary has made the following determinations under exception (F) above, notices of which have been published in the Federal Register. As additional determinations are made, they will also be published in the Federal Register:
|Argentina (effective July 1968)||Malta (beg. Sept. 1964)|
|Austria (except from January 1958 through June 1961)||Mexico (beg. March 1968)|
|Barbados (beg. July 1968)||Monaco|
|Belgium (beg. July 1968)||[*]Netherlands (beg. July 1968)|
|Bolivia||Norway (beg. June 1968)|
|Bulgaria (effective February 1971)||Peru (beg. Feb. 1969)|
|Canada (beg. Jan. 1966)||Philippines (beg. June 1960)|
|Chile||Poland (beg. March 1957)|
|Colombia (beg. Jan. 1967)||Portugal (beg. May 1968)|
|Congo (Kinshasa), (beg. July 1961)||San Marino (beg. Jan. 1965)|
|Costa Rica (beg. May 1962)||Spain (beg. May 1966)|
|Cyprus (beg. Oct. 1964)||Sweden (beg. July 1966)|
|Czechoslovakia (beg. July 1968)||Switzerland (beg. July 1968)|
|Denmark (beg. April 1964)||Trinidad and Tabago (beg. July 1975)|
|Ecuador||Trust Territories of the Pacific (Micronesia) (beg. July 1976)|
|Finland (beg. May 1968)||United Kingdom|
|France (beg. June 1968)||Upper Volta (beg. Oct. 1960)|
|Gabon (beg. June 1964)||Western Samoa (beg. Aug. 1972)|
|Guyana (effective September 1969)||Yugoslavia|
|Ivory Coast||Zaire (effective July 1961) (formerly Congo Kinshasa)|
|Jamaica (beg. 1968)|
|Liechtenstein (effective July 1968)|
The effect of inclusion under List 1 is that, beginning January 1957, unless otherwise specified, beneficiaries who are citizens of such countries may be paid regardless of the duration of their absence from the United States.
|Cambodia||Korea (South)||South Africa|
|Cameroon||Laos||Republic of Sudan|
|Dominican Republic||Malagasy Republic||Tunisia|
The effect of inclusion under List 2 is that citizens of such countries may not receive benefits while outside the United States (under the conditions set out in the third paragraph of this ruling), unless they can qualify under one of the following exceptions: (A), (B), (C), (D), or (G) above.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(Incl. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania)
[*] Prior to this date, alien beneficiaries who were citizens of the Netherlands could, under the "treaty obligation exception" in section 202(t)(3) of the Act, receive only survivor benefits while outside the United States.