U.S.-Portuguese Social Security Agreement

Agreement, with administrative arrangement, both signed at Lisbon March 30, 1988.
Entered into force August 1, 1989.

Português

Contents

Principal Agreement
Part I - General Provisions
Part II - Provisions on Coverage
Part III - Provisions on Benefits
Part IV - Miscellaneous Provisions
Part V - Transitional and Final Provisions
Administrative Arrangement

AGREEMENT
BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND
THE PORTUGUESE REPUBLIC
ON SOCIAL SECURITY


The Government of the United States of America and

The Government of the Portuguese Republic,

Being desirous of regulating the relationship between their two countries in the field of Social Security, have agreed as follows:

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PART I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

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For the purpose of this Agreement:

  1. "Territory" means,
  2. as regards the United States, the States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa, and

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    as regards Portugal, the territory on the European continent and the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira;

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  3. "National" means,

    as regards the United States, a national of the United States as defined in Section 101, Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and

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    as regards Portugal, a person of Portuguese nationality;
  1. "Laws" mean the laws and regulations specified in Article 2, which are in force in the territory of either Contracting State or in any part of that territory;



  2. "Competent Authority" means,
  3. as regards the United States, the Secretary of Health and Human Services,

    and as regards Portugal, the minister or other corresponding authority responsible for the social security schemes in all or any part of the territory of Portugal;

  4. "Agency" means,
  5. as regards the United States, the Social Security Administration, and

    as regards Portugal, the body or authority entrusted with the application of the social security schemes under the laws specified in paragraph 1.b of Article 2;

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  6. "Period of Coverage" means a period of payment of contributions or a period of earnings from employment or self-employment, as defined or recognized as a period of coverage by the laws under which such period has been completed, or any similar period insofar as it is recognized by such laws as equivalent to a period of coverage;



  7. "Benefit" means any benefit provided for in the laws of either Contracting State.

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Article 2

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  1. For the purpose of this Agreement, the applicable laws are:

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    1. As regards the United States, the laws governing the Federal Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Program:

      1. Title II of the Social Security Act and regulations pertaining thereto, except sections 226, 226A and 228 of that title and regulations pertaining to those sections, and


      2. Chapter 2 and Chapter 21 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and regulations pertaining to those chapters;



    2. As regards Portugal,


      1. The laws governing the general social security system of old-age, survivors, and disability insurance;


      2. The laws governing special systems for certain categories of workers, to the extent that these laws relate to the risks covered by the laws referred to in clause (i).

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  1. This Agreement shall apply also to future laws which supplement or amend the laws specified in paragraph 1 of this Article.


  2. Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, the laws referred to in paragraph 1 shall not include any treaty or other international agreement or supranational legislation on social security which may be in force between either Contracting State and a third State, or laws or regulations promulgated for their specific implementation.


  3. This Agreement shall not apply to social assistance programs or to special systems for civil servants or persons treated as such.


Article 3

  1. A person who is a national of a Contracting State or who has been subject to the laws of a Contracting State and who resides within the territory of the other Contracting State shall, together with his dependents, receive equal treatment with nationals of the other Contracting State in the application of the laws of the other Contracting State regarding the benefits provided for in those laws.


  2. Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, any provision of the laws of a Contracting State which restricts entitlement to or payment of cash benefits solely because a person resides outside or is absent from the territory of that Contracting State shall not be applicable to the persons who reside in the territory of the other Contracting State.


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PART II

PROVISIONS ON COVERAGE

Article 4

  1. Except as otherwise provided in this Part, a person employed within the territory of one of the Contracting States shall, with respect to that employment, be subject to the laws of only that Contracting State.

  2. A person who would otherwise be compulsorily covered under the laws of both Contracting States with respect to self-employment shall be subject only to the laws of the Contracting State of which he is a resident.

  3. Article 5

  1. (a) Where a person who is covered under the laws of a Contracting State with respect to work performed for an employer having a place of business in the territory of that Contracting State is sent by that employer to work in the territory of the other Contracting State, the person shall be subject to the laws of only the first Contracting State as if he were employed in the territory of the first Contracting State, provided that the period of employment in the territory of the other Contracting State is not expected to exceed five years. If the period of employment is prolonged due to unforeseen circumstances for more than five years, the laws of the first Contracting State shall continue to apply for a new period of not more than one year, provided that the Competent Authority of the other Contracting State consents. Any extension must be requested before the termination of the initial period of five years.


  2. (b) Subparagraph (a) shall apply where a person who has been sent by his employer from the territory of a Contracting State to the territory of a third State is subsequently sent by that employer from the territory of the third State to the territory of the other Contracting State.

     

  3. Where the same activity is considered to be self-employment under the laws of one Contracting State and employment under the laws of the other Contracting State, that activity shall be treated according to the provisions of this Part concerning self-employment if the person is a resident of the first Contracting State and according to the provisions of this Part concerning employment in any other case.



  4. A person who would otherwise be compulsorily covered under the laws of both Contracting States with respect to employment as an officer or member of a crew on a ship or aircraft shall be subject only to the laws of the Contracting State of which he is a resident.

 

Article 6

  1. This Agreement shall not affect the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961, or of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of April 24, 1963.



  2. Nationals of one of the Contracting States who are employed by the Government of that Contracting State in the territory of the other Contracting State but who are not exempt from the laws of the other Contracting State by virtue of the Conventions mentioned in paragraph 1 shall be subject to the laws of only the first Contracting State. For the purposes of this paragraph, employment by the Government of a Contracting State includes employment by an instrumentality thereof.


Article 7

The Competent Authorities of the two Contracting States may agree to grant an exception to the provisions of Articles 4, 5, and 6 with respect to any person or category of persons, provided that the affected person or persons shall be subject to the laws of one of the Contracting States.

 

Article 8

  1. A national of a Contracting State residing in the territory of the other Contracting State shall be entitled to register for any voluntary insurance provided under the laws of the other Contracting State on the same basis as nationals of the other Contracting State.



  2. A person who has been subject to the laws of a Contracting State shall be entitled to register for any optional continued insurance provided under the laws of that Contracting State on the same basis as a national of that Contracting State, and, where necessary, periods of coverage completed under the laws of the other Contracting State shall be taken into account, provided that the person resides in the territory of the first Contracting State.

 

PART III

Provisions on Benefits


Article 9

The following provisions shall apply to the United States:

  1. Where a person has completed at least six quarters of coverage under United States laws, but does not have sufficient quarters of coverage to satisfy the requirements for entitlement to benefits under United States laws, the agency of the United States shall take into account, for the purpose of establishing entitlement to benefits under this Article, periods of coverage which are credited under the laws of Portugal and which do not coincide with periods of coverage already credited under United States laws.



  2. In determining eligibility for benefits under paragraph 1 of this Article, the agency of the United States shall credit one quarter of coverage for every three months of coverage certified by the agency of Portugal; however, no quarter of coverage shall be credited for any calendar quarter already credited as a quarter of coverage under United States laws. The total number of quarters of coverage to be credited for a year shall not exceed four.

  3. Where entitlement to a benefit under United States laws is established according to the provisions of paragraph 1, the agency of the United States shall compute a pro rata Primary Insurance Amount in accordance with United States laws based on (a) the person's average earnings credited exclusively under United States laws and (b) the ratio of the duration of the person's periods of coverage completed under United States laws to the duration of a coverage lifetime as determined in accordance with United States laws. Benefits payable under United States laws shall be based on the pro rata Primary Insurance Amount.



  4. Entitlement to a benefit from the United States which results from paragraph 1 shall terminate with the acquisition of sufficient periods of coverage under United States laws to establish entitlement to an equal or higher benefit without the need to invoke the provisions of paragraph 1.

Article 10

The following provisions shall apply to Portugal:

 

  1. Where a person has completed at least one year of coverage under Portuguese law, but does not have sufficient periods of coverage to satisfy the requirements for entitlement to benefits under Portuguese law, the agency of Portugal shall take into account, for the purpose of establishing entitlement to benefits under this Article, periods of coverage which are credited under the laws of the United States and which do not coincide with periods of coverage already credited under Portuguese law.



  2. Where Portuguese laws establish as a condition for receiving certain benefits that the periods of coverage be completed in a given profession or occupation which is subject to a special pension system, in determining eligibility for such benefits only the periods completed under United States laws in the same profession or occupation shall be totalized with periods of coverage under such special system. If the total of such periods of coverage does not result in entitlement under the special system, such periods shall be used to determine eligibility for benefits of the general system applicable under Portuguese laws to employed persons.



  3. In determining eligibility for benefits under paragraph 1 of this Article, the agency of Portugal shall credit three months of coverage for every quarter of coverage certified by the agency of the United States.



  4. Where a person satisfies the conditions required by Portuguese law for entitlement to benefits solely by virtue of the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article, the agency of Portugal shall calculate the amount of the benefits to which the person is entitled on the basis of (a) the periods of coverage completed exclusively under Portuguese law and (b) the person's average earnings credited exclusively under Portuguese law.



  5. If a person who resides in the territory of Portugal becomes entitled to benefits under paragraph 1 as well as benefits under United States laws, and the amount of the combined benefits is less than the benefit amount which would be payable based on the minimum basic benefit amount payable under Portuguese laws, the agency of Portugal shall pay, in addition to the pro rata amount calculated according to paragraph 4, a supplement equal to the difference between the amount of such combined benefits and the amount of benefits which would be payable to the person based on such minimum basic benefit amount.



  6. Entitlement to a benefit from Portugal which results from paragraph 1 shall terminate with the acquisition of sufficient periods of coverage under Portuguese law to establish entitlement to an equal or higher benefit without the need to invoke the provisions of paragraph 1.


Article 11

Periods of coverage of a Contracting State which have been completed under a Social Security pension system to which this Agreement does not apply, but which are taken into account by a system governed by the laws of that Contracting State referred to in Article 2 shall be considered as periods of coverage for the purpose of totalization by the agency of the other Contracting State.



PART IV


MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Article 12

The Competent Authorities of the two Contracting States shall:

    1. Make all necessary administrative arrangements for the application of this Agreement;

    2. Communicate to each other information concerning the measures taken for the application of this Agreement; and


    3. Communicate to each other, as soon as possible, information concerning all changes in their respective laws which may affect the application of this Agreement.


 

Article 13

  1. The Competent Authorities and the agencies of the Contracting States, within the scope of their respective authority, shall assist each other in implementing this Agreement.


  2. For the purpose of facilitating the implementation of this Agreement, liaison agencies shall be designated in an administrative arrangement.

 

Article 14

Any application, appeal or other document which according to the laws of a Contracting State must be submitted within a specified period to an agency of that Contracting State, but which is instead submitted within the same period to the agency of the other Contracting State shall be considered to have been submitted on time. In such case, the agency with which the application, appeal or document has been filed shall indicate the date of receipt on the document and transmit it without delay to the appropriate agency of the other Contracting State either directly or by way of the liaison agency.

 

Article 15

  1. Where the laws of a Contracting State provide that any document which is submitted to a Competent Authority or an agency of that Contracting State shall be exempted, wholly or partly, from fees or charges, including consular and administrative fees, the exemption shall also apply to corresponding documents which are submitted to a Competent Authority or an agency of the other Contracting State in the application of this Agreement.


  2. Documents and certificates which are presented for purposes of this Agreement shall be exempt from requirements for authentication by diplomatic or consular authorities.

Article 16

  1. A written application for benefits filed with an agency of one Contracting State shall protect the rights of the claimants under the laws of the other Contracting State if the applicant requests that it be considered an application under the laws of the other Contracting State.


  2. If an applicant has filed a written application for benefits with the agency of one Contracting State and has not specifically restricted the application to benefits under the laws of that State, the application shall also protect the rights of the claimants under the laws of the other Contracting State if the applicant provides information at the time of filing indicating that the person on whose record benefits are claimed has completed periods of coverage under the laws of the other Contracting State.


  3. The provisions of this Agreement shall apply only to an application for benefits which is filed on or after the date this Agreement enters into force.



Article 17

The Competent Authorities and agencies of the Contracting States may correspond directly with each other and with any person wherever the person may reside whenever it is necessary for the administration of this Agreement. The correspondence may be in the English or Portuguese language.

 

Article 18

  1. Payments under this Agreement may be made in the currency of the Contracting State making the payments.



  2. In case provisions designed to restrict the exchange or exportation of currencies are introduced by either Contracting State, the Governments of both Contracting States shall immediately adopt the measures necessary to insure the transfer of sums owed by either Contracting State under this Agreement.

Article 19

This Agreement may be amended in the future by supplementary agreements, which from their entry into force shall be considered an integral part of this Agreement. Such supplementary agreements may be given retroactive effect if they so specify.

 

Article 20

  1. Disagreements between the two Contracting States regarding the interpretation or application of this Agreement shall, as far as possible, be settled by the Competent Authorities.



  2. If such a disagreement cannot be resolved within a period of six months, either Contracting State may submit the matter to binding arbitration by an arbitral body whose composition and procedure shall be agreed upon by the Contracting States.


PART V


TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 21

  1. Upon entry into force of this Agreement, the Notes exchanged between the Ambassador of the United States of America and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal on May 1, 1968, shall cease to have effect; provided, however, that no person shall suffer any loss of rights to benefits outside the territory of Portugal which he had under those Notes or would have had if those Notes had remained in effect.


  2. In the application of this Agreement, consideration shall be given to periods of coverage under the laws of either Contracting State which occurred prior to the entry into force of this Agreement, in order to determine the right to benefits under this Agreement; except that neither State shall take into account periods which occurred prior to the earliest date for which periods may be credited as periods of coverage under its laws.



  3. This Agreement shall also apply to events relevant to rights under the laws of either Contracting State which occurred prior to its entry into force.



  4. This Agreement shall not establish any claim to payment of a benefit for any period before its entry into force or a lump-sum death benefit if the person died before its entry into force.



  5. Determinations made before the entry into force of this Agreement shall not affect rights arising under it.



  6. The application of this Agreement shall not result in any reduction in the amount of benefits to which entitlement was established prior to its entry into force.




  7. In applying Article 5, paragraph 1, in the case of persons who were sent to the territory of a Contracting State prior to the date of entry into force of this Agreement, the period of employment referred to in that paragraph shall be considered to begin on that date.

 

Article 22

  1. This Agreement shall remain in force and effect until the expiration of one calendar year following the year in which written notice of its termination is given by one of the Contracting States to the other Contracting State.



  2. If this Agreement is terminated, rights regarding entitlement to or payment of benefits acquired under it shall be retained; the Contracting States shall make arrangements dealing with rights in the process of being acquired.

 

Article 23

Both Contracting States shall notify each other in writing of the completion of their respective statutory and constitutional procedures required for the entry into force of this Agreement. This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the third month following the date of the last notification.

 

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed the present Agreement.

 

DONE at Lisbon on March 30, 1988, in duplicate, in the English and Portuguese languages, both texts being equally authentic.


For the Government of the United States of America:

Edward M. Rowell


For the Government of THE PORTUGUESE REPUBLIC:

Manuel Filipe Correia de Jesus


ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENT

FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF

THE AGREEMENT

BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND THE PORTUGUESE REPUBLIC
ON SOCIAL SECURITY

 

The Government of the United States of America and

The Government of the Portuguese Republic,

In conformity with Article 12, paragraph (a), of the Agreement between the United States of America and the Portuguese Republic on Social Security of this date, hereinafter referred to as the "Agreement", have agreed as follows:

 

Chapter 1

General Provisions

Article 1

The terms used in this Administrative Arrangement shall have the same meaning as in the Agreement.

Article 2

  1. The liaison agencies referred to in Article 13, paragraph 2, of the Agreement shall be:

    1. for the United States, the Social Security Administration,


    2. for Portugal, the Department of International Relations and Social Security Conventions (Departamento de Relacoes Internacionais e Convencoes de Seguranca Social).


  2. The liaison agencies designated in paragraph 1 shall agree upon the joint procedures and forms necessary for the implementation of the Agreement and this Administrative Arrangement.

Chapter 2

Provisions on Coverage

Article 3

  1. Where the laws of a Contracting State are applicable in accordance with Part II of the Agreement, the agency of that Contracting State, upon request of the employer or self-employed person, shall issue a certificate stating that the employee or self-employed person is subject to those laws. This certificate shall be proof that the named worker is exempt from the laws on compulsory coverage of the other Contracting State.



  2. The certificate referred to in paragraph 1 shall be issued


    1. In the United States:


    2. by the Social Security Administration;


    3. In Portugal:


    4. on the European continent by the Regional Social Security Center (Centro Regional de Seguranca Social) where the worker concerned is registered,

      in the Autonomous Region of Madeira by the Regional Social Security Directorate (Direccao Regional de Seguranca Social), Funchal,

      in the Autonomous Region of the Azores by the Regional Social Security Directorate (Direccao Regional de Seguranca Social), Angra do Heroismo.


  3. The agency of a Contracting State which issues a certificate referred to in paragraph 1 shall furnish a copy of the certificate to the liaison agency of the other Contracting State as needed by the latter agency.


 

Chapter III

Provisions on Benefits

Article 4

  1. The agency of the Contracting State with which an application for benefits is first filed in accordance with Article 16 of the Agreement shall inform the liaison agency of the other Contracting State of this fact without delay and provide such evidence and other information as may be required to complete action on the claim.

  2. The liaison agency of a Contracting State which receives an application that was first filed with an agency of the other Contracting State shall without delay provide the liaison agency of that Contracting State with such evidence and other available information as may be required for it to complete action on the claim.



  3. The agency of the Contracting State with which an application for benefits has been filed shall verify the information pertaining to the applicant and his family members. The types of information to be verified shall be agreed upon by the liaison agencies.


Chapter IV


Miscellaneous Provisions

Article 5

In accordance with measures to be agreed upon by the Contracting States pursuant to Article 2 of this Administrative Arrangement, the liaison agency of one Contracting State shall, upon request of an agency of the other Contracting State, furnish available information relating to the claim of any specified individual for the purpose of administering the Agreement.

 

Article 6

Copies of documents which are certified as true and exact copies by the agency of one Contracting State shall be accepted as true and exact copies by the agency of the other Contracting State, without further certification. When applying its laws, the agency of each Contracting State shall be the final judge of the probative value of the evidence submitted to it from whatever source.

 

Article 7

The liaison agencies of the two Contracting States shall exchange statistics on the number of certificates issued under Article 3 of this Administrative Arrangement and on the payments made to beneficiaries under the Agreement. These statistics shall be furnished annually in a form to be agreed upon.

 

Article 8

  1. Where administrative assistance is requested under Article 13 of the Agreement, expenses other than regular personnel and operating costs of the agencies providing the assistance shall be reimbursed.


  2. Upon request, the agency of either Contracting State shall furnish without cost to the agency of the other Contracting State any medical information and documentation in its possession relevant to the disability of the claimant or beneficiary.



  3. Where the agency of a Contracting State requires that a person in the territory of the other Contracting State who is receiving or applying for benefits under the Agreement submit to a medical examination, such examination, if requested by that agency, shall be arranged by the agency of the other Contracting State in accordance with the rules of the agency making the arrangements and at the expense of the agency which requests the examination.


  4. The liaison agency of one Contracting State shall reimburse amounts owed under paragraph 1 or 3 of this Article upon presentation of a detailed statement of expenses by the liaison agency of the other Contracting State.

 

Article 9

Unless otherwise required by the national statutes of a Contracting State, information about an individual which is transmitted in accordance with the Agreement to that Contracting State by the other Contracting State shall be used exclusively for purposes of implementing the Agreement. Such information received by a Contracting State shall be governed by the national statutes of that Contracting State for the protection of privacy and confidentiality of personal data.

 

Article 10

This Administrative Arrangement shall enter into force on the date of entry into force of the Agreement and shall have the same period of validity.

 

DONE at Lisbon on March 30, 1988, in duplicate, in the English and Portuguese languages, both texts being equally authentic.

 

For the Government of the United States of America:

Edward M. Rowell

For the Government of the Portuguese Republic:

Manuel Filipe Correia de Jesus

 


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