As a general rule, individuals should only take action on totalization benefits under an agreement when they are willing to apply for a pension, survival or disability. A person wishing to introduce a entitlement to benefits as part of a totalization agreement can do so with any social security agency in the United States or abroad. As of June 30, 2020, totalization agreements are in effect in China with ten countries, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. China has also signed totalization agreements with France and Serbia that have not yet entered into force. In addition to improving the social security of working workers, international social security agreements help ensure continuity of benefit protection for people who have received social security credits under the U.S. system and another country. 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: 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 totalisation 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. The agreement with Italy is a departure from other US agreements because it does not regulate the people cashed in.
As in other agreements, the basic criterion of coverage is the territorial rule. However, the coverage of foreign workers is mainly based on the nationality of the worker. If an employed or self-employed U.S. citizen in Italy would be covered by U.S. Social Security without the agreement, he will remain covered by the U.S. program and exempt from Italian coverage and contributions. It is important to note that the new bilateral agreement applies only to pension legislation. This is not a totalisation agreement, as it does not contain any provision for taking into account the periods of insurance between Luxembourg and China for the right to benefits. It only covers unlimited liability for social security benefits granted to residents of another country (or third country) on the basis of national social security legislation.