Is Super equivalent to Social Security?

This post is inspired by a paragraph near the end of this blog post by  Marsha-laine Dungog:

We would encourage U.S. expats to seize the current momentum and push for legislation that will “enshrine” the Super’s objectives as one that will “provide income in retirement to substitute or supplement the Age Pension.”[41] This would conclusively lay all doubts to rest that the Super should be analyzed in a manner that is consistent with (and therefore taxed similarly to) U.S. Social Security. The treatment of SG Contributions as foreign social security is consistent with the statutory mandate under Australian Superannuation law requiring employer contributions to be made pursuant to the taxing authority of the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth) and not on account of a contractual relationship between employer and employee. Consequently, earnings accrued on SG contributions and distributions therefrom should also be classified as foreign social security benefits which are already excluded from U.S. taxation under Article 18(2) of the Tax Treaty.[42]

This got me thinking. In what ways is Super equivalent to Social Security? And does the proposed legislation1 actually do anything? Finally, what action is needed in Australia to clarify this issue? Continue reading “Is Super equivalent to Social Security?”