An agreement that will enter into force on April 1, 2001 between the United States and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) improves the protection of social security for people working or working in both countries. It helps many people who, in the absence of the agreement, would not be entitled to monthly pension, disability or survival benefits under the social security system of one or both countries. It also helps people who would otherwise have to pay social security contributions to the two countries with the same incomes. Prior to the agreement, workers, employers and the self-employed may, in certain circumstances, be required to pay social security taxes in the United States and Korea for the same work. The following table outlines the different types of social security benefits to be paid under the U.S. and Korean social security systems and briefly outlines the eligibility requirements of each plan. If you do not meet the regular benefit requirements, the agreement can help you qualify (see “How Benefits Can Be Paid”). This document discusses the strengths of the agreement and how it can help you work and apply for benefits. Although the agreement between the United States and Korea authorizes the Social Security Administration to count your Korean credits to help you qualify for U.S. pension, disability or survival benefits, the agreement does not cover Medicare benefits. Therefore, we cannot count your credits in Korea to qualify for free Medicare insurance. Bilateral rehabilitation agreements are implemented if: all these agreements are based on the concept of shared responsibility. Responsibility-sharing agreements are reciprocal.
Under each agreement, partner countries make concessions to their social security qualification rules so that those covered by the agreement have access to payments that they may not be eligible for. The responsibility for social security is thus distributed among the countries in which a person has lived during his or her working years and where the person is able to obtain potential rights. In general, it is possible to access a pension from one country in the second country, although the paying country retains some discretion with regard to the exchange and delivery mechanisms used. If you do not wish to be entitled to benefits but want more information about the agreement, write:Your right to social protection may be based on social security agreements. Finland has such agreements with the Nordic countries, the United States, Canada, Chile, Israel, Australia, India, China and South Korea. In addition, Finland has a separate social security agreement with the province of Quebec in Canada. With Australia, Finland has also reached an agreement on medical treatment during a temporary stay in the other signatory country. The Nordic Convention on Social Security obliges Nordic countries to cooperate on vocational rehabilitation in cross-border situations. The Nordic countries have bilateral administrative agreements on the organization of rehabilitation measures and related practices. The agreements facilitate the handling of rehabilitation cases where a person has abused the right to free movement and, therefore, works in one Nordic country and lives in another country. Finland has an agreement with Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark.
Normally, people who are not U.S. citizens can receive U.S. Social Security benefits when they are outside the U.S., only if they meet certain requirements. However, under the agreement, you can receive benefits as long as you reside in Korea, regardless of your nationality. If you are not a U.S. citizen and you live in another country, you may not be able to receive benefits.