Do employers have to deposit money to Social Security?
October 31, 2006 9:28 PM   Subscribe

Do employers have to offer the option to deposit money into Social Security?

My mother worked many years for a Texas school district that did not offer the option to deposit money into Social Security (instead, that money went into the Texas Teachers' Retirement System.) Now she's 49 and needs to draw Social Security Disability due to Parkinson's, but doesn't have the quarters required because of TRS. Is this legal? If not, is there any action that can be taken to get those quarters?
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire to Law & Government (7 answers total)
Best answer: Yes, it's legal, and there's nothing that can be done about it.

(Some) government employees don't participate in Social Security because they have alternative programs. My dad was a Federal employee and was in a different program. (Also, some railroad workers have an alternate program.)

Your mother is supposed to get her benefits from the TRS.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:40 PM on October 31, 2006

Filing employment taxes is not optional for employers. If there was no witholding for that employee then the employer must show why there was an exemption.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:51 PM on October 31, 2006

What Steven C. Den Beste said. Pollomacho's links are accurate for private employers and for new employees at public employers. But there are plenty of people who started work at government agencies before Social Security became mandatory, and who were grandfathered in as a result.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:59 PM on October 31, 2006

Yes, many school systems have separate plans. She should apply for her retirement as a disability from the TTRS, just like she would from Social Security.

My mom has the same thing. It's a really dumb system, especially since many people (like my mom) work outside their "school system" for a lot of years and never get to see the money they contributed to SS as the school retirement plan preempts it.
posted by miss tea at 4:07 AM on November 1, 2006

I don't know about government employees specifically, but SSI, while part of the Social Security system, does not require you to have paid into Social Security. My grandmother collected it and she never worked for an employer after Social Security was passed.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:32 AM on November 1, 2006

Here is what the TRS offers folks in terms of disability-related early retirement benefits.

Here is the page on the Social Security website. You can't "get" or "buy" quarters of work; you have to have paid into Social Security during your working life to get them. From the document:
While eligibility for Social Security disability is based on prior work under Social Security, SSI disability payments are made on the basis of financial need.
Many of my patients with early disabilities like PD do what the social workers call "spend down" - i.e. give away their assets - to become eligible for SSI and state benefits of this nature. However, if you're a middle-class person, the tax hit on this maneuver is nothing short of ruinous.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:59 AM on November 1, 2006

Dagny, however, your grandfather paid into the system. Spouses get benefits. The system was sett up with homemakers in mind.

Also, part of patricipating in school system plans requires you to give up your ss benes.
posted by miss tea at 7:01 AM on November 1, 2006

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