The United States has signed totalization agreements with four countries in the FBU Poland service area: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Information on all existing social security agreements can be found on the International Programs Overview website. Totalization agreements, also known as bilateral agreements, eliminate dual social security (a situation that occurs when a person from one country works in another country and has to pay social security contributions to the two countries with the same income). Any totalization agreement contains rules that aim to allocate insurance coverage to a work force in a country where the workforce is more economically related. Agreements generally guarantee that the worker pays social security contributions to only one country, provided that the worker and the employer meet the procedural conditions of the agreement for obtaining an exemption from the other country`s social security contributions. If you have any questions about international social security agreements, please contact the Office of International Social Security Programs at 410-965-3322 or 410-965-7306. However, do not call these numbers if you want to inquire about a right to an individual benefit. International social security agreements, often referred to as “totalization agreements,” have two main objectives. First, they remove the double taxation of social security, the situation that occurs when a worker from one country works in another country and is required to pay social security taxes to the two countries with the same incomes. Second, the agreements help fill gaps in benefit protection for workers who have shared their careers between the United States and another country. Totalization agreements tolerate derogations from the above rules to determine the social security system that should apply to a particular worker. If both countries accept an exception for a single worker, the country that has agreed to cover the worker in question will cover that worker accordingly. An exceptional example would be the renewal of a few months of a short stay in a country beyond the five-year limit for the application of the single-family house rule.
An agreement could be reached between the two countries to ignore the worker`s additional three months abroad. This would prevent the worker concerned from being taxed by the country in which he or she works. Instead, this worker would remain subject to the social security system of his country of origin.  In order to provide the tax authorities of a host country with proof that a worker is exempt from paying that country`s social security taxes, he (or his employer) must keep and, if necessary, present a certificate of coverage. The certificate is a document issued by the country whose laws continue to apply to that person in accordance with the rules of the agreement.