Slovakia-USA Social Security Agreement and Supplementary Notes (2012)

Social Security Agreement and Supplementary Notes (2012)

This Treaty was signed on December 10, 2012 and entered into force on May 1, 2014.

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

The United States of America

and

the Slovak Republic (hereinafter referred to as “the Contracting States”),

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

PART I: General Provisions

Article 1. Definitions

1. For the purpose of this Agreement:

a. “United States” means,

the United States of America;

b. “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

as regards the Slovak Republic, a state citizen of the Slovak Republic;

c. “laws” means the laws and regulations specified in Article 2 of this Agreement;

d. “Competent Authority” means,

as regards the United States, the Commissioner of Social Security, and

as regards the Slovak Republic, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic; e. “agency” means,

as regards the United States, the Social Security Administration, and

as regards the Slovak Republic, an institution responsible for implementing the laws specified in Article 2 of this Agreement;

f. “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;

g. “benefit” means any benefit provided for in the laws specified in Article 2 of this Agreement; and

h. “personal data” means any information relating to a specific (identified or identifiable) person, as well as any information which can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: any individual identifier; citizenship, nationality, statelessness or refugee status; benefits, eligibility or other claims information; contact information; medical information or lay information used in a medical determination; information about marital, familial or personal relationships; and information pertaining to work, financial or economic status.

2. Any term not defined in this Article shall have the meaning assigned to it in the applicable laws.

Article 2. Material Scope

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

a. as regards the United States, the laws governing the Federal old-age, survivors and disability insurance program:

i. 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,

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

b. as regards the Slovak Republic,

i. the Act on Social Insurance, sections pertaining to pension benefits (old-age benefits, early retirement benefits, disability benefits, widows and widowers benefits and orphans benefits),

ii. with regard to Part II of this Agreement only, to the Act on Social Insurance, sections referring to participation in Social Insurance.

2. Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, the laws referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall not include treaties or other international agreements or supranational legislation on social security concluded between one Contracting State and a third State, or laws or regulations promulgated for their specific implementation.

3. No provision in this Agreement shall affect the obligations of the Slovak Republic’s social security agreements with third countries or any other international agreements by which the Slovak Republic is bound.

4. Except as provided in the following sentence, this Agreement shall also apply to legislation which amends or supplements the laws specified in paragraph 1. This Agreement shall apply to future legislation of a Contracting State which creates new categories of beneficiaries or new benefits under the laws of that Contracting State unless the Competent Authority of that Contracting State notifies the Competent Authority of the other Contracting State in writing within three months of the date of the official publication of the new legislation that no such extension of the Agreement is intended.

Article 3. Personal Scope

This Agreement shall apply:

a. to any person who is or has been subject to the laws of either Contracting State, and

b. to the dependents and survivors of such a person within the meaning of the applicable laws of either Contracting State.

Article 4. Equality of Treatment and Portability of Benefits

1. Persons described in Article 3 of this Agreement who reside in the territory of a Contracting State shall receive equal treatment with nationals of the other Contracting State in the application of the laws of the other Contracting State regarding entitlement to or payment of benefits.

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

PART II: Provisions Concerning Applicable Laws

Article 5. Coverage Provisions

1. Except as otherwise provided in this Article, 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. Where a person who is normally employed in the territory of one Contracting State by an employer in that territory is sent by that employer to the territory of the other Contracting State for a temporary period, the person shall be subject to the laws of only the first Contracting State as if the person 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. For purposes of applying this paragraph in the case of an employee who is sent from the territory of the United States by an employer in that territory to the territory of the Slovak Republic, that employer and an affiliated company of the employer (as defined under the laws of the United States) shall be considered one and the same, provided that the employment would have been covered under United States laws absent this Agreement.

3. Paragraph 2 of this Article shall apply where a person who has been sent by his or her employer from the territory of a Contracting State to the territory of a third State, and who is compulsorily covered under the laws of that Contracting State while employed in the territory of the third State, is subsequently sent by that employer from the territory of the third State to the territory of the other Contracting State.

4. A person who is normally self-employed in the territory of one Contracting State, and who temporarily transfers his or her self-employment activity to the territory of the other Contracting State shall be subject to the laws of only the first Contracting State, provided that the period of self-employment activity in the territory of the other Contracting State is not expected to exceed five years.

5.

a. A person who is employed as an officer or member of a crew on a vessel which flies the flag of one Contracting State and who would be covered under the laws of both Contracting States shall be subject to the laws of only the Contracting State whose flag the vessel flies. For purposes of the preceding sentence, a vessel which flies the flag of the United States is one defined as an American vessel under the laws of the United States.

b. Traveling employees of air transportation companies who perform work in the territories of both Contracting States and who would otherwise be covered under the laws of both Contracting States shall, with respect to that work, be subject to the laws of only the Contracting State in the territory of which the company has its headquarters. However, if such employees reside in the territory of the other Contracting State, they shall be subject to the laws of only that Contracting State.

6.

a. 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.

b. 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 subparagraph (a) shall be subject to the laws of only the first Contracting State. For the purpose of this paragraph, employment by the United States Government includes employment by an instrumentality thereof.

7. The Competent Authorities of the two Contracting States may agree to grant an exception to the provisions of this Article with respect to particular persons or categories of persons, provided that any affected person shall be subject to the laws of one of the Contracting States.

PART III: Provisions on Benefits

Article 6. Benefits Under United States Laws

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 periods 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 Slovak Republic laws 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 90 days of coverage certified by the agency of the Slovak Republic; 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. The agency of the United States shall not take into account periods of coverage which occurred prior to the earliest date for which periods of coverage may be credited under its laws, nor will the agency of the United States take into account any periods of coverage which are not based on contributions.

3. Where entitlement to a benefit under United States laws is established according to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article, 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 of this Article 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 provision of paragraph 1 of this Article.

5. The United States agency will pay a lump-sum death benefit under this Agreement provided the person on whose record benefits are being claimed died on or after the date of entry into force of this Agreement.

Article 7. Benefits Under Slovak Republic Laws

The following provisions shall apply to the Slovak Republic:

1. If, under the laws of the Slovak Republic, a person is not eligible for a benefit because he or she has not accumulated sufficient periods of coverage, the agency of the Slovak Republic will take into account periods of coverage under United States laws provided such periods do not coincide with periods of coverage already credited under Slovak Republic laws.

2. For the purpose of establishing eligibility for a benefit pursuant to paragraph 1, the agency of the Slovak Republic will credit 90 days of insurance for each quarter of coverage under United States laws. The agency of the Slovak Republic shall credit the total number of days in a calendar year for four quarters of coverage under United States laws in the same calendar year.

3. When it is not possible to determine the time when periods of coverage were completed under United States laws within a specific calendar year, it shall be presumed that such periods do not coincide with periods of coverage completed under Slovak Republic laws. Such periods may be allocated to any time during the year, in the manner most advantageous for the person.

4. The agency of the Slovak Republic shall determine the benefit amount by taking into account only periods of coverage credited under the laws of the Slovak Republic. This shall not apply if, under the laws of the Slovak Republic, the person is eligible for the benefit only by taking into account periods of coverage credited under the laws of both Contracting States, and if internal regulations do not allow the determination of the benefit amount based solely on periods of coverage credited under Slovak Republic laws.

5. The benefit amount described in the second sentence of paragraph 4 of this Article shall be determined in the following manner:

a. The Slovak Republic agency shall first determine whether a person meets eligibility requirements for a benefit under Slovak Republic laws after taking into account combined periods of coverage under the laws of both Contracting States.

b. If a person is eligible for a benefit under subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, the Slovak Republic agency shall then calculate the theoretical benefit amount as if all periods of coverage under the laws of both Contracting States had been completed solely under Slovak Republic laws.

c. Based on the theoretical benefit amount, the Slovak Republic agency shall calculate the benefit amount by multiplying the theoretical amount by the ratio of the periods of coverage credited under Slovak Republic laws to the total periods of coverage credited under the laws of both Contracting States.

6. If a person has not been credited with 12 months of coverage under Slovak Republic laws, no Slovak Republic benefit is payable under the Agreement. The preceding sentence does not apply if entitlement to a benefit can be established based solely on periods of coverage credited under Slovak Republic laws. If a person has been credited with fewer than six quarters of coverage under United States laws, the Slovak Republic agency shall credit such periods of coverage to calculate the benefit amount under Slovak Republic laws.

7. A person whose disability began while he or she was a minor, a dependent or a regular doctoral studies student under age 26, and whose disability claim is established without the requirement that he or she perform work activity to obtain periods of coverage, may establish eligibility for disability benefits on the condition that such person permanently resides in the territory of the Slovak Republic.

PART IV: Miscellaneous Provisions

Article 8. Administrative Measures

The Competent Authorities of the two Contracting States shall:

a. conclude an administrative arrangement and take all necessary administrative measures for the implementation of this Agreement;

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

c. 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 9. Mutual Assistance

The Competent Authorities and the agencies of the Contracting States, within the scope of their respective authorities, shall assist each other in implementing this Agreement. This assistance shall be free of charge, subject to exceptions to be agreed upon in an administrative arrangement.

Article 10. Confidentiality of Exchanged Personal Data

1. Unless otherwise required by the national statutes of a Contracting State, personal data transmitted in accordance with this Agreement to one Contracting State by the other Contracting State shall be used for purposes of administering this Agreement and the laws in Article 2 of this Agreement. The receiving Contracting State’s national statutes for the protection of privacy and confidentiality of personal data and the provisions of this Agreement shall govern such use.

2. The Competent Authorities of the Contracting States shall inform each other about all amendments to their national statutes regarding the protection of privacy and confidentiality of personal data that affect the transmission of personal data.

3. Any subject may request, and the Competent Authority or agency requesting or transmitting personal data must disclose to that subject upon such request, the content, receiving agency and duration of use of the subject’s personal data and the purpose and legal grounds for which such data were used or requested.

4. The agencies shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that transmitted personal data are accurate and limited to data required to fulfill the receiving agency’s request. In accordance with their respective national statutes, the agencies shall correct or delete any inaccurate transmitted personal data and any data not required to fulfill the receiving agency’s request, and immediately notify the other Contracting State’s agency of such correction. This shall not limit a subject’s right to request such correction directly from the agencies.

5. Both the transmitting and the receiving agencies shall effectively protect personal data against unauthorized or illegal access, alteration or disclosure.

Article 11. Confidentiality of Exchanged Employers’ Information

Unless otherwise required by the national statutes of a Contracting State, employers’ information transmitted between Contracting States in accordance with this Agreement shall be used for purposes of administering this Agreement and the laws in Article 2 of this Agreement. The receiving Contracting State’s national statutes for the protection and confidentiality of employers’ information and the provisions of this Agreement shall govern such use.

Article 12. Fee Waiver and Documents

1. Where the laws of a Contracting State provide that any document which is submitted to the 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 the 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 exempted from requirements for authentication by diplomatic or consular authorities.

3. Copies of documents which are certified as true and exact copies by an agency of one Contracting State shall be accepted as true and exact copies by an agency of the other Contracting State, without further certification. 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 13. Correspondence and Language

1. 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.

2. An application or document may not be rejected by a Competent Authority or agency of a Contracting State solely because it is in the language of the other Contracting State.

Article 14. Applications

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

a. requests at the time of filing that his or her application be considered an application under the laws of the other Contracting State, or

b. if he or she does not make such a request, 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.

2. In any case to which this Article applies, the competent authority or competent institution of one Party An applicant for benefits under the laws of a Contracting State may request that his or her application not be considered an application for benefits under the laws of the other Contracting State.

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

Article 15. Appeals and Time Limits

1. A written appeal of a determination made by an agency of one Contracting State may be validly filed with an agency of either Contracting State. The appeal shall be decided according to the procedure and laws of the Contracting State whose decision is being appealed.

2. Any claim, notice or written appeal which, under the laws of one Contracting State, must have been filed within a prescribed period with an agency of that Contracting State, but which is instead filed within the same period with an agency of the other Contracting State, shall be considered to have been filed on time.

Article 16. Transmittal of Claims, Notices and Appeals

In any case to which a provision of Article 14 or 15 of this Agreement applies, the agency to which the claim, notice or written appeal has been submitted shall indicate the date of receipt on the document and transmit it without delay to the agency of the other Contracting State.

Article 17. Currency

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 Contracting States shall immediately take measures necessary to ensure the transfer of sums owed by either Contracting State under this Agreement.

Article 18. Transmittal of Claims, Notices and Appeals

Any disagreement regarding the interpretation or application of this Agreement shall be resolved by consultation between the Competent Authorities.

Article 19. Supplementary Agreements

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.

PART V. Transitional and Final Provisions

Article 20. Transitional Provisions

1. This Agreement shall not establish any claim to payment of a benefit for any period before the date of entry into force of this Agreement.

2. In determining the right to benefits under this Agreement, consideration shall be given to periods of coverage under the laws of either Contracting State and other events which occurred before the entry into force of this Agreement.

3. In applying paragraph 2 or 4 of Article 5, in the case of persons who were sent by their employer or who transferred their self-employment activity to work in the territory of a Contracting State prior to the date of entry into force of this Agreement, the period of employment or self-employment referred to in those paragraphs shall be considered to begin on the date of the entry into force of this Agreement.

4. Determinations concerning entitlement to benefits which were made before the entry into force of this Agreement shall not affect rights arising under it.

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

Article 21. Entry Into Force

1. This Agreement is subject to approval according to the applicable procedures or internal legislative regulations of each Contracting State.

2. This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the third calendar month following the month in which the Contracting States inform each other by a written notification that all necessary statutory and constitutional requirements for the entry into force of this Agreement have been fulfilled.

3. Nothing in this Agreement shall supersede the notes concerning the payment of social security benefits exchanged between the United States and Czechoslovak Governments on June 20 and July 12, 1968.

Article 22. Duration and Termination

1. This Agreement shall remain in force indefinitely.

2. This Agreement may be terminated by either Contracting State giving written notice of its termination to the other Contracting State. In the event that the Agreement is terminated, it shall remain in force until the expiration of one calendar year following the year in which a Contracting State receives written notice of its termination from the other Contracting State.

3. 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.

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

DONE at Bratislava on December 10, 2012 in duplicate in the English and Slovak languages, the two texts being equally authentic.

For the United States of America:
Theodore Sedgwick

For the Slovak Republic:
Ján Richter

ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT ON SOCIAL SECURITY BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC

The Competent Authority of the United States of America and the Competent Authority of the Slovak Republic,

In conformity with Article 8(a) of the Agreement between the United States of America and the Slovak Republic on Social Security of December 10, 2012, hereinafter referred to as the “Agreement,” have agreed as follows:

CHAPTER I. General Provisions

Article 1

Where terms which appear in the Agreement are used in this Administrative Arrangement, they shall have the same meaning as they have in the Agreement.

Article 2

1. The agencies defined in paragraph 1(e) of Article 1 of the Agreement shall be:

a. for the United States, the Social Security Administration; and

b. for the Slovak Republic, the Social Insurance Agency.

2. The agencies shall agree upon the joint procedures, methods and forms necessary for the implementation of the Agreement and this Administrative Arrangement.

CHAPTER II. Provisions on Coverage

Article 3

1. Where the laws of one Contracting State are applicable in accordance with any of the provisions of Article 5 of the Agreement, the agency of that Contracting State, upon request of the employer and employee, or self-employed person, shall issue a certificate stating that the employer, employee or self- employed person is subject to those laws and indicating the duration for which the certificate shall be valid. This certificate shall be proof that the employee or self-employed person is exempt from the laws on compulsory coverage of the other Contracting State.

2. The certificate referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be issued:

a. in the United States, by the Social Security Administration; and

b. in the Slovak Republic, by the Social Insurance Agency.

3. Exceptions according to paragraph 7 of Article 5 of the Agreement will be granted:

a. in the United States, by the Social Security Administration; and

b. in the Slovak Republic, by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic.

4. The agency of a Contracting State which issues a certificate referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall furnish a copy of the certificate or agreed upon information from the certificate to the agency of the other Contracting State as needed by the agency of the other Contracting State.

CHAPTER III. Provisions on Benefits

Article 4

1. Applications for benefits under the Agreement shall be submitted on forms to be agreed upon by the agencies of the two Contracting States.

2. The agency of the Contracting State with which an application for benefits is first filed in accordance with Article 14 of the Agreement shall provide the agency of the other Contracting State with such evidence and other information in its possession as may be required to complete action on the claim.

3. The 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 agency of the other Contracting State with such evidence and other available information in its possession as may be required for it to complete action on the claim.

4. The agency of the Contracting State with which an application for benefits has been filed shall verify the information pertaining to the applicant and the applicant’s dependents and survivors. The types of information to be verified shall be agreed upon by the agencies of both Contracting States.

5. The agencies of the Contracting States shall pay benefits under the Agreement directly to the beneficiary or his or her designee.

CHAPTER IV. Miscellaneous Provisions

Article 5

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

2. To facilitate the implementation of the Agreement and this Administrative Arrangement, the agencies may agree on measures for the provision and transmission of the electronic exchange of data.

Article 6

The agencies of the two Contracting States shall exchange statistics annually on the payments made to beneficiaries under the Agreement for the calendar year ending on December 31. These statistics shall include the number of beneficiaries and the total amount of benefits under this Agreement, sorted into types of benefits.

Article 7

1. Where administrative assistance is requested under Article 9 of the Agreement, expenses other than regular personnel and operating costs of the agency providing the assistance shall be reimbursed, except as may be agreed to by the Competent Authorities or agencies of the Contracting States.

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

Article 8

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 Bratislava on December 10, 2012, in duplicate in the English and Slovak languages, the two texts being equally authentic.

For the Competent Authority of the United States of America:
Theodore Sedgwick

For the Competent Authority of the Slovak Republic:
Ján Richter