In addition to improving the social security of working workers, international social security agreements help ensure continuity of benefit protection for people who have received social security credits under the U.S. system and another country. As a general rule, individuals should only take action on totalization benefits under an agreement when they are willing to apply for a pension, survival or disability. A person wishing to introduce a entitlement to benefits as part of a totalization agreement can do so with any social security agency in the United States or abroad. The agreement with Italy is a departure from other US agreements because it does not regulate the people cashed in. As in other agreements, the basic criterion of coverage is the territorial rule. However, the coverage of foreign workers is mainly based on the nationality of the worker. If an employed or self-employed U.S. citizen in Italy would be covered by U.S. Social Security without the agreement, he will remain covered by the U.S.
program and exempt from Italian coverage and contributions. The agreements allow sSA to add U.S. and foreign coverage credits only if the worker has at least six-quarters of U.S. coverage. Similarly, a person may need a minimum amount of coverage under the foreign system to have U.S. coverage accounted for in order to meet the conditions for granting foreign benefits. The United States has agreements with several nations, the so-called totalization conventions, in order to avoid double taxation of income in relation to social contributions. These agreements must be taken into account in determining whether a foreigner is subject to the U.S. Social Security Tax/Medicare or whether a U.S. citizen or resident alien is subject to the social security taxes of a foreign country. The provisions to eliminate dual coverage for workers are similar in all U.S.
agreements. Each of them establishes a basic rule regarding the location of the employment of a workforce. Under this basic “territorial rule,” a worker who would otherwise be covered by both the United States and a foreign regime is subject exclusively to the coverage laws of the country in which he or she works. Since the late 1970s, the United States has established a network of bilateral social security agreements that coordinate the United States.