The self-employed rule in U.S. agreements generally applies to employees whose operations in the host country are expected to last 5 years or less. The 5-year limit for leave for the self-employed is much longer than the limit normally provided for in agreements concluded by other countries. International social security conventions may be comprehensive and cover the entire social security sector (pension and invalidity insurance, sickness insurance, health care and maternity, insurance for accidents at work and occupational diseases, unemployment insurance and family allowances) or in part, which cover only certain branches of social security. To qualify for benefits under the U.S. Social Security program, an employee must have acquired sufficient work credits, known as quarters of coverage, to meet certain «insured status requirements.» For example, a worker who reaches age 62 in 1991 or later typically needs 40 calendar quarters to be insured for old-age benefits. If a worker has some U.S. coverage but is not sufficient to qualify for benefits, the SSA counts, under a tabling agreement, the periods of insurance that the worker has earned under a contracting country`s social security program. Similarly, a country that is a party to an agreement with the United States will consider a worker`s coverage under the U.S. program when necessary to qualify for that country`s social security benefits. If the combined credits in both countries allow the worker to meet the eligibility conditions, then a partial benefit may be paid depending on the share of the worker`s total career completed in the paying country.
In addition to bilateral arrangements, there are a number of multilateral agreements, including the Agreement on the European Economic Area which entered into force on 1 January 1994 (EEA Agreement). Under certain conditions, a worker may be exempted from coverage in a contracting country, even if he or she has not been transferred there directly from the United States. For example, if a U.S. company sends an employee from its New York office to work for 4 years in its Hong Kong office and then transferred them to their London office for another four years, the employee may be exempt from UK social security coverage in the US and UK. It is an agreement. The exemption rule applies in such cases, provided that the worker was originally posted from the United States and remained under U.S. social security coverage for the entire period prior to the posting to the contract country. Agreements to coordinate social security across national borders have been commonplace in Western Europe for decades.
Below is a list of agreements entered into by the United States and the date of entry into force of each agreement. Some of these agreements were subsequently revised; the date indicated is the date of entry into force of the original agreement. Despite the fact that agreements aim to allocate social protection to the country where the worker is most attached, sometimes unusual situations occur, where strict application of the rules of the agreement would lead to unusual or uneven results. That is why each agreement contains a provision allowing the authorities of both countries to grant derogations from the normal rules if both parties agree. A waiver could be granted, for example, if a U.S. citizen`s intervention abroad has been unexpectedly extended by a few months beyond the five-year limit, in accordance with the self-employed rule. In this case, the worker could benefit from continuous U.S. coverage for the additional period….