In 1973, the Minister of Health, Education and Welfare, Caspar Weinberger, and his Italian counterpart signed the first U.S. totalization agreement. Although the Italian government quickly ratified the agreement as a treaty, Congress had not yet adopted an approval status; That is why the United States has not been able to implement the agreement. After much thought, in 1977 Congress adopted amendments to the Social Security Act, which contained an approval status allowing the agreement with Italy to enter into force. In 1977, labour migration patterns were radically different from those of 2018, and most trade and multinational relations in the United States focused on Western Europe. Therefore, Section 233 was adapted to the social security systems of Western Europe at the time. The first two agreements, in which the United States entered with Italy and West Germany, preceded the adoption of Section 233. That is why this scheme was designed with the social security systems of these two countries in mind. Both countries had traditional Bismarck contingency systems that covered almost all of their workforce. Section 233 provides that the President can only enter into totalization agreements with countries with general social security plans that provide regular benefits because of their age, disability or death or actuarial equivalent. The most notable exception to the territorial rule is called a detached work rule. Under this rule, a worker whose employer requires his temporary relocation from one country to another to work for the same company continues to pay social security contributions and retains insurance coverage exclusively in the country from which he has moved.1 According to almost all totalization agreements, the duration of such a transfer cannot be expected at the time of the transfer.
to exceed 5 years. This rule ensures that workers who work only temporarily in the other country continue to work in their home country, which remains the country of their greatest economic link.2 On the other hand, workers who change countries permanently are insured under the country of destination regime. By mutual agreement, the two countries can agree to extend the five-year period for temporary missions abroad on a case-by-case basis, but extensions beyond two more years are rare. Although totalization agreements vary according to the partner country`s social security system, Table A-1 summarizes some common coverage situations for U.S. workers posted abroad to work. As a general rule, a worker is covered by the social security system of the country in which he works. However, totalization agreements indicate exceptions for certain categories of U.S. workers. Since totalization agreements are inherently reciprocal, these waivers apply equally to foreign workers in the United States.