Social Security: Issues Regarding the Coverage of Public Employees

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

There are no easy answers to the difficulties of equalizing Social Security’s treatment of covered workers and noncovered public employees. About one-fourth of public employees primarily state and local government workers are not covered by Social Security and do not pay Social Security taxes on their government earnings. Nevertheless, these workers may still be eligible for Social Security benefits through their spouses’ or their own earnings from other covered employment. To address concerns with how noncovered workers are treated compared with covered workers, Social Security has provisions in place to take noncovered employment into account and reduce Social Security benefits for public employees.

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