Will I Be Able To Get Social Security From Both Spain And The U.S.?

Jun 30 2020 - 9:54am

Good morning,
I'm a dual citizen from Spain/USA I worked 15 years in Spain and 25 years in the US, can I get Social Security from both countries?


My expertise is limited to U.S. Social Security benefits, so I can't tell you whether or not you'll qualify for benefits from Spain. As for U.S. Social Security benefits, you can qualify for Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 as long as you have at least 40 quarters of U.S. Social Security coverage (QC). Forty QCs roughly equates to 10 years of Social Security covered work, so it certainly sounds like you'll be able to draw at least U.S. Social Security benefits.

If you are able to collect a pension from Spain based on your work there, it may cause your U.S. Social Security retirement benefit rate to be lower than it would be if you weren't receiving the other pension. That's because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which can cause a person's U.S. Social Security benefit rate to be calculated using a less generous computation formula if they receive a pension based on their work that was exempt from U.S. Social Security taxes (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf).

However, the U.S. Social Security program has a totalization agreement with Spain that allows both countries to potentially give credit to a person based on their work in the other country. If you don't qualify for benefits from Spain based on their normal requirements but you do end up being paid a Spanish pension because Spain gives you credits for your U.S. work, then that would be considered as a totalization benefit. Totalization benefits aren't subject to reduction under the WEP provision, nor would WEP apply to your regular U.S. Social Security benefits if the only other pension you receive is a totalization benefit.

Our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) is fully programmed to handle both WEP and regular U.S. Social Security benefit calculations, so you may want to strongly consider using the software to do your Social Security planning. However, the software would not be able to help your Spanish Social Security benefit options.

Best, Jerry