Although the agreement between the United States and Belgium authorizes the Social Security Administration to count your Belgian credits to help you qualify for pension, disability or survival benefits in the United States, the agreement does not cover Medicare benefits. Therefore, we cannot count your credits in Belgium to justify the right to free Medicare hospital insurance. There are many nations around the world – Singapore and South Africa, for example – that do not participate in totalization agreements with other countries. The explanation for this point varies from country to country. The lack of agreement is usually due to one of the possible reasons: a separate agreement, called a totalization agreement, helps American foreigners in Belgium not to pay social security taxes to both the US and Belgian governments. The contributions of expatriates made in Belgium during the period can be credited to these two systems. The country they pay depends on the length of their life in Belgium. If you are entitled to social benefits from both the United States and Belgium and do not need the agreement to receive one of the two benefits, U.S. law may reduce the amount of your benefit in the United States. This is the result of a provision in U.S. law that can influence how the U.S.
calculates your benefit if you also receive a pension based on work that is not covered by U.S. Social Security. For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov, and get a copy of the Wind Elimination Act (publication 05-10045) or, if you are outside the United States, you can email us in the “For more information” section. The agreements cover a period of two to five years depending on the host country and require at least one valid contribution in Canada to allow a person to receive benefits in Canada. If a worker is not entitled to benefits in his country of origin or in the host country because the deadlines are not met, a totalization agreement between the two countries can provide a solution. The agreement allows the worker to add up the time spent between the two sites and to recover social security benefits in one of the countries, provided that a minimum amount is reached in one or both countries. If, for example, in the United States, the combined credits in both countries allow the worker to meet the eligibility requirements, a partial benefit may be paid on the basis of the proportion of the person`s total career in the paying country.