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Old 29.05.2012, 10:13
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Social Security question

Hi all,

I am planning to return to the States where I have only 19 quarters of Soc Sec taxes paid in out of a necessary 40 to receive SSI upon retirement. I have been paying into AHV here for much of the last 20 years, however. My question is whether I can pay into SSI back the last few years for 1) alimony earned in the US giving periodic workshops, 2) alimony received here, and/or 3) income on US properties I rent out? Also, once I go back there do I then pay to both SSI and AHV (so my AHV doesn't lapse)?

Social Security dept is sending me to IRS to answer any questions. My accountant here is trying to tell me that you pay only one country or the other, that they have some kind of agreement, though I remember that it was important to keep payments coming to the AHV even when we lived abroad for 8 years.

Does anybody know how to handle this so one receives social security from both countries? Is it allowed to pay to both (I would need to backpay a few years to SSI to get to 40 quarters by age 65.
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Old 29.05.2012, 11:22
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Re: Social Security question

This bilateal agrement on social security should answer most of your questions.

http://www.ssa.gov/international/Agr.../switzrld.html

Social security in both coutries is on your earnings, deducted by your employer(s) so unearned income (housing) etc.. does not qualify.
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Old 29.05.2012, 11:37
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Re: Social Security question

Thank you very much for this information from SSI. Now, if I could only understand it. I neglected to say in my previous post, that I have dual American and Swiss citizenship. I tried to contact SSI to ask specific details but was referred to the IRS. And you know how user-friendly they are.
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Old 29.05.2012, 11:52
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Re: Social Security question

Last I knew there was a social security office in the US embassy in Bern, in which you could inquire, etc.. Perhaps give them a ring.
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Old 29.05.2012, 12:03
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Re: Social Security question

OK, I just called Social Security in Frankfurt. A very nice lady explained that when I am ready to apply for Social Security benefits, I tell them about my Swiss AHV payments, and according to this new agreement between Switzerland and the US, America will apply my AHV payments to my US Social Security benefits so that I have the minimum of 40 quarters credit, while at the same time I don't lose my AHV benefits. A good deal, I would say. I think, though, that I have to keep paying into AHV until Swiss retirement age even if I am in the US. If anyone knows more about this, I would like to find out.
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