Social Security Totalization Agreements are designed so that workers and their employers would not be subject to double taxation, owing payroll taxes to both the country in which they work, and their home nation. In addition, totalization agreements allow workers to earn generic work credits good for receiving retirement benefits in either country. These credits from the United States and other countries can be totaled together to receive benefits. The U.S. currently has 24 totalization agreements with other nations, most having economies similar to our own.
The U.S. – Mexico Totalization Agreement—which was signed by the Social Security Administrations of both the U.S. and Mexico in 2004, and is due to undergo review by the current or future President(s)—continues to pose a threat to Social Security beneficiaries. Because of a loophole, if the President signs the final Executive Totalization Social Security Agreement with Mexico, it could lead to Social Security benefits going to individuals who worked in the U.S. while illegal.
Despite the efforts of TSCL and others, knowledge of the U.S – Mexico Totalization Agreement remains limited on Capitol Hill, and the issue flies under radar for the most part. TSCL has expressed its support for resolutions in opposition to the totalization agreement. In addition, TSCL is supportive of legislation, such as the Social Security Totalization Agreement Reform Act, which would grant more time for congressional review of these agreements. TSCL also supports loophole-closing legislation which would prevent individuals who worked in the U.S. while illegal from receiving credit for that work for purposes of Social Security benefit calculations.
TSCL has filed three lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act requesting copies of the agreement and other information and has placed ads in The Washington Times in opposition to the proposed agreement. We will continue to closely monitor the totalization matter.