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Stop paying nenkin for more Social Security(US)... Calling all GaijinPot Masters..

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Wonky View Post
    I called the US social security office today and this is what I was told. Totalization is designed for people who spend large portions of their careers in different countries, not long enough to be vested anywhere. To be vested in the US you need only ten years but to be FULLY vested and receive full benefits, you need 35 years of contributions. If you work more than 35 years they average out the 35 highest-income years.

    Personally, I already have well over 10 years in the US and over twenty to go before retirement, so the five years in Japan really wouldn't make much difference. Regarding the lump-sum from Japan, the person I spoke with recommended I "take the money and run."

    I did not ask about WEP and it did not come up--I am assuming it does not apply to me and the above quoted statement is correct.
    Totalization also is used to get benefits from another country if you are already vested in one.

    If "FULLY vested" means getting the maximum monthly payments, then you'll need 35 years of max. contributions, which this year would be based on an income of $110,000. If you do the math you'll find that spreading the 10 years of contributions over 35 years gives you a much higher return on your contributions due to the progressive nature of SS payments.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Since1990 View Post
      For me, although I was born and bred in New Zealand, I have never worked there and have only worked in Japan with 15 years of Nenkin payments under my belt, so to speak. I sometimes wonder if I'd be eligible for the pension in New Zealand should I ever decide to retire there (which I don't intend to).
      If New Zealand is similar to the US, then you might be able to be vested in the system, but your monthly payment would be zero. The key in the USA is that you would also be entitled to Medicare, worth more than many are getting in cash payments from SS.

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