International Social Security agreements (also known as "totalization" agreements) have two main purposes.
  1. They eliminate dual Social Security taxation when a worker from one country works in another country and is required to pay Social Security taxes to both countries on the same earnings.
  2. The agreements help fill gaps in benefit protection for workers who have divided their careers between the United States and another country.
As a result of these agreements, Social Security provides benefits to people who have worked in both the United States and in a foreign country with such an agreement, but whose periods of coverage in the United States would not otherwise be sufficient to qualify for U. S. benefits. The Social Security benefits are paid from the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds. These agreements also provide for similar benefits paid by a foreign country to people who have worked in both the U.S. and that country.

For those tables showing benefits in force, the tables also show the annual number of awards and terminations. Terminations are calculated using the number in force at the beginning and end of a year and the number of awards in the year.

Note that any average benefit amounts provided by the form above represent the amounts due to beneficiaries in current payment status for the month(s) included in the table. These amounts exclude any adjustments to benefits for retroactive payments and certain payment withholding that may be attributable to eligibility in prior months. Therefore, these data do not represent total benefits paid from the trust funds. Total benefit payment data including these effects are available here.