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UK state pension and USA social security

UK state pension and USA social security

Old Jan 5th 2015, 4:01 pm
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by theOAP View Post
[SIZE=4][U]
WHAT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE ABOVE (AMONGST MANY OTHER THINGS):
For 2015, is the minimum amount required for a credit ($1,220) your net salary in the year, or is $1,220 the 6.2% SS contribution (covered earnings???) calculated from your net salary for the year?[/URL]
It must be the former, surely - that a person needs to earn at least $4,800 of SS-able income to get the full annual credit/ quarters x 4 for that year. It can't be that they need to pay $4,800 in SS contributions, as they'd need to earn around $78k or more, which would exclude a large proportion of US workers. Of course, if you only earned $4,800 in SS-able income, then the resulting payout would be buttons, as it's earnings-related rather than the UK 'one credit = a fixed amount of pension' system.

Thanks for your explanations, OAP; you've been so helpful. I'm there now, I think - I've got:

- 19 years in the UK system
- 4 years in the Swiss system
- 0 years in the US system (so far)

From that lot, I'll be able to get my 19 years pension from the UK, 4 years from Switzerland (I've got a statement showing what's due there; we qualify), and then if I work here, I'll be able to get X years of SS by leveraging my UK status. That's probably as much as I need to understand for now, given I've got 20+ years to go before I can see any of this theoretical money anyway, and what would've been the point of fully learning any of the systems 20 years ago!

The main thing is that I can now factor into my future 'work-don't work' calculation that I'll be eligible for some resulting SS, rather than giving away 6.2% of my earnings for nothing. That's very good news.

Incidentally... I think I can only claim SS either on my own record, or as a spouse payout based on hubby's..? So if I've only accumulated a tiny amount on my own, it may still be better anyway to take 50% of his. I know there are some games to play with married couples, to do with taking one type of benefit but switching to another, filing and suspending whilst the spouse then takes his/her payout, etc. Based on what the rules are at the time, and what will be WEP'd from whom, I see a lot of lovely spreadsheets in my distant future.
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Old Jan 5th 2015, 8:20 pm
  #482  
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by kodokan View Post
It must be the former, surely - that a person needs to earn at least $4,800 of SS-able income to get the full annual credit/ quarters x 4 for that year. It can't be that they need to pay $4,800 in SS contributions, as they'd need to earn around $78k or more, which would exclude a large proportion of US workers. Of course, if you only earned $4,800 in SS-able income, then the resulting payout would be buttons, as it's earnings-related rather than the UK 'one credit = a fixed amount of pension' system.

Thanks for your explanations, OAP; you've been so helpful. I'm there now, I think - I've got:

- 19 years in the UK system
- 4 years in the Swiss system
- 0 years in the US system (so far)

From that lot, I'll be able to get my 19 years pension from the UK, 4 years from Switzerland (I've got a statement showing what's due there; we qualify), and then if I work here, I'll be able to get X years of SS by leveraging my UK status. That's probably as much as I need to understand for now, given I've got 20+ years to go before I can see any of this theoretical money anyway, and what would've been the point of fully learning any of the systems 20 years ago!

The main thing is that I can now factor into my future 'work-don't work' calculation that I'll be eligible for some resulting SS, rather than giving away 6.2% of my earnings for nothing. That's very good news.

Incidentally... I think I can only claim SS either on my own record, or as a spouse payout based on hubby's..? So if I've only accumulated a tiny amount on my own, it may still be better anyway to take 50% of his. I know there are some games to play with married couples, to do with taking one type of benefit but switching to another, filing and suspending whilst the spouse then takes his/her payout, etc. Based on what the rules are at the time, and what will be WEP'd from whom, I see a lot of lovely spreadsheets in my distant future.
If you really wanted to, you could even use the SS calculators to figure out hypothetically how much SS pension you'd get with X amount of years at $Y salary per year. You could just plug in some hypotheticals:

Calculators

- I think calculator #2 is the one to use.
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Old Jan 5th 2015, 8:27 pm
  #483  
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by WEBlue View Post
That's something of a polite understatement!

Many thinks to you, OAP, for the translation of the Totalization Agreement that you've provided in these posts you've made. They've helped me a lot in my understanding of this issue, as have many of your previous posts on SS/pensions. Like Kodokan, I think I'm 'getting it' at last.....
I recall a thread on this forum a year or two ago where it took about 10 pages to get us to the understanding that OAP has provided in about 5 posts.
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Old Jan 5th 2015, 9:47 pm
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
I recall a thread on this forum a year or two ago where it took about 10 pages to get us to the understanding that OAP has provided in about 5 posts.
I remember that thread--very true!
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Old Jan 5th 2015, 11:25 pm
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Thanks for that excellent, detailed explanation OAP - it is very much appreciated. So it looks like I will be able to claim at least a minimum pension from the US SS system but likely to be not very much. Still, at the end of the day it's my money, I paid into the system and it's much better in my pocket than the US governments (in my opinion anyway )

I'll take a look at the links you provided and maybe dig out some old payslips, I'm pretty sure I've still got them from 15 years ago (packrat here).

Just one additional query that just occurred to me, my wife was with me but on a non-working visa and only ever got an ITIN (Individual Tax ID number), this was just before they allowed spouses of L2A visa's to work in their own right I believe. Would she be entitled to any survivor pension from SS when I pass away (I'm guessing she would need her own contribution record but she never made any) - I suppose she could always forget to tell them <joke>
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Old Jan 6th 2015, 12:17 am
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Just a follow-up, I downloaded the detailed calculator and put in some rough earnings for my 3 years. It's given me two numbers, one is a PIA (Personal insurance amount) and the other is an MFB (maximum family benefit). It looks like I qualified for 12 periods (3 full years) as my contributions for my full and 2 partial calendar years were enough to qualify me for 4 quarters in each year.

At todays rates the PIA calculation appears to be $144 and the MFB is $217 and that's after owning up to $1,000 of UK pension per month (£650 x 1.55).

Am I correct in assuming I would get the MFB as a married person? If so, $217/month is not to be sneezed at for only 3 years contributions and even $144 (circa £90/month) will find a nice home.

Do these results sound at all sensible as I was expecting less, I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong ?

Last edited by kangoora; Jan 6th 2015 at 12:19 am.
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Old Jan 6th 2015, 1:50 pm
  #487  
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Damn, now I'm really getting worried. We're discussing an international aspect of US Social Security and we all feel we have a basic understanding. Something must be wrong.
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Old Jan 6th 2015, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by kangoora View Post
...my wife was with me but on a non-working visa and only ever got an ITIN (Individual Tax ID number), ... Would she be entitled to any survivor pension from SS when I pass away (I'm guessing she would need her own contribution record but she never made any).
Good question. If you had qualified for US SS by having a normally qualified 10 or more years on your US SS record, then your wife, if she is resident in the UK, would be entitled to both a spouses pension and a survivors pension.

I don't know the official position of the SSA, but my guess would be once your SS pension is qualified under the Agreement, it's like a normal SS pension. In that case, your wife should be entitled to both the spouses and survivors pension.

In all cases, it wouldn't matter if she had never set foot in the US and had neither an ITIN or an SSN. She is still entitled if resident in the UK (and would eventually be given an SSN with restrictions).

But, I could well be wrong on this when the pension is allowed due to the Agreement.


Originally Posted by kangoora View Post
Just a follow-up, I downloaded the detailed calculator and put in some rough earnings for my 3 years. It's given me two numbers, one is a PIA (Personal insurance amount) and the other is an MFB (maximum family benefit). It looks like I qualified for 12 periods (3 full years) as my contributions for my full and 2 partial calendar years were enough to qualify me for 4 quarters in each year.

At todays rates the PIA calculation appears to be $144 and the MFB is $217 and that's after owning up to $1,000 of UK pension per month (£650 x 1.55).

Am I correct in assuming I would get the MFB as a married person? If so, $217/month is not to be sneezed at for only 3 years contributions and even $144 (circa £90/month) will find a nice home.

Do these results sound at all sensible as I was expecting less, I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong ?
The PIA amount is the number ($144). PIA is the figure if you elect to start receiving SS at your normal retirement age. MFB concerns SSA programmes other than the retirement benefit, but still uses your contributions as a base if those other programmes were ever required (like possibly survivors benefit or SSI).

The $144 figure could well be right. If your situation had been the opposite (qualified in the US and used the Agreement for the UK) with 3 years in the UK, your 'new rules' UK SP would be (£4.24/wk X 3 yrs = £12.72/wk.). That would equal £55.12 a month, or roughly $83/mo.

Given your salary, and WEP (reducing your pension by probably 30% to 50%), it stacks up with the $144. (US SS benefits without WEP can be 3 times UK amounts.) This is all speculation on my part, but the $144/mo. does seem a believable figure; but, you'll only know for sure once it comes time to apply for SS.

Glad to hear you have the 12 credits. I used quarters for your calculation since they give the most conservative estimate.
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Old Jan 6th 2015, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Thanks again, I may be back in a few years (well 10 anyway) asking how to apply for the pension.

Much appreciated
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Old Jan 7th 2015, 7:07 pm
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by theOAP View Post
Damn, now I'm really getting worried. We're discussing an international aspect of US Social Security and we all feel we have a basic understanding. Something must be wrong.
Maybe not. I'm about to ask a question or two at which you may roll your eyes!

Can I get a pension from both the US and the UK at the same time?

The years/credits in one system which are used to bring-up the credits in the other system to make the person qualify - Let's say you used 5 credits from your US system to become eligible in the UK. Then when your US pension is being calculated does it get calculated on the total credits or total minus 5?
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Old Jan 7th 2015, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by jmood View Post

Can I get a pension from both the US and the UK at the same time?
Yes you can.


The years/credits in one system which are used to bring-up the credits in the other system to make the person qualify - Let's say you used 5 credits from your US system to become eligible in the UK. Then when your US pension is being calculated does it get calculated on the total credits or total minus 5?
My understanding has always been you can only transfer credits from one system to another if you don't have enough in either system for a pension. My wife has a UK State pension, but not enough credits for the full amount. She cannot transfer credits from that to US SS to top that up to 30 years.
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Old Jan 7th 2015, 7:46 pm
  #492  
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post




My understanding has always been you can only transfer credits from one system to another if you don't have enough in either system for a pension. My wife has a UK State pension, but not enough credits for the full amount. She cannot transfer credits from that to US SS to top that up to 30 years.
You can use credits from one system to qualify for the other system, but the pension is calculated using your actual contributions to the system.

So if you have 5 years of US SS contributions and 30 years of UK NI, you can use 5 years of your UK NI contributions to bring your US SS contributions up to 10 so that you qualify. You US SS will be calculated using 5 years and your UK pension using 30 years of contributions.
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Old Jan 8th 2015, 2:08 am
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

So, the "credits" used for purposes of qualifying for pension in the other country are not reduced by this process.
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Old Jan 8th 2015, 6:20 pm
  #494  
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Originally Posted by UK2US1979 View Post
So, the "credits" used for purposes of qualifying for pension in the other country are not reduced by this process.
No. Pensions are calculated in both countries according to the contributions you made to each system. Credits from one country can only be used to qualify for a benefit, they are not used in it's calculation.
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Old Jan 9th 2015, 2:17 am
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Default Re: UK state pension and USA social security

Thanks nun for clarificarion. I could have phrased my comments above a bit better. I meant to say that the 5 credits used from one system ( US) to qualify for the other (UK) do not reduce the US credits by 5, to answer lansbbury's question in a precise manner. Please correct me if I am wrong.
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