Greetings! We are students at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. We are working in collaboration with the U.S. Government Accountability Office to research retirement security, specifically on the potential effects of totalization agreements. Please answer the following questions if you would like to help us. Your responses will be kept confidential and will be used only for research purposes. Thank you for your time.
Totalization agreements are bilateral social security agreements. The U.S. has totalization agreements with 25 countries. The agreements aim to prevent dual taxation for Social Security benefits and make it easier for workers and their dependents to access benefits. If a person has worked in the U.S. and another agreement country for a period of time, but not long enough in one or both countries to be eligible to receive Social Security benefits, a totalization agreement enables them to add up (totalize) their time worked between the two countries to be able to more easily meet the eligibility requirements for receiving prorated benefits, both in the U.S. and in the agreement country. *
1. Are you aware if the United States has a totalization agreement with the country you are working or living in? Yes or no?
2. If yes, do you feel the agreement affects your retirement security? Yes or no?
A. Avoid paying double taxes
B. Other _______
3. Where did you hear about totalization agreements and the benefits you can get from them?
B. Employer's tax or financial advisor
C. Personal tax or financial advisor
D. Just now
E. Other _____________________
4. Now that you know about totalization agreements, do you think you will change or modify your retirement plans? Yes or no?
5. If you think you may qualify for totalized benefits, do you plan to seek professional advice for your retirement benefits?
A. Yes, in the near future
B. Yes, when I am closer to retiring
6. Are you a US. citizen?
7. In what country do you currently reside?
8. In what country do you plan to retire?
Feel free to leave any comments about your experiences as well.
Thank you for your time.
*We are graduate researchers and are not official or professional authorities on taxes or Social Security benefits.