Combining Social Security Benefits From More Than One Country

“Kathleen, this long-time reader noticed in a recent e-mail from you about health insurance that you paid into Ireland’s social system when you had a business there. It occurred to me that this might be an opportune time to mention that the U.S. Social Security Administration has international agreements with more than 20 countries that can help individuals increase their U.S. Social Security benefits by combining covered work performed in more than one nation.

“Both Ireland (since September 1993) and France (since July 1988) have agreements that certain work performed and covered under those nations’ social insurance programs can be combined with earnings covered under U.S. Social Security. Unfortunately, there is no agreement with Panama, but your readers will find that among the more than 20 countries included are Canada, several other European nations, and even some countries in Asia.

“For further information, your readers can find more details at

–Don A., Latvia

We were not aware of this and appreciate the information. We’re not expecting much from Social Security, but it’s good to know about this option.

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