Topic:
SOCIAL SECURITY; LEGISLATION; RETIREMENT AND PENSION SYSTEMS; TEACHERS; MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS/EMPLOYEES; STATISTICAL INFORMATION;
Location:
SOCIAL SECURITY; TEACHERS - RETIREMENT;

OLR Research Report


March 7, 2007

 

2007-R-0262

MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES AND SOCIAL SECURITY COVERAGE

By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst

You asked for an update of our 2006 report on teachers and Social Security. You also asked whether any municipal employees in Connecticut other than teachers and school administrators are not covered by Social Security.

SUMMARY

Since our 2006 report on teachers and Social Security, three bills have been introduced in Congress to eliminate or change the federal laws, known as the government pension offset and the windfall elimination provisions, that reduce Connecticut teachers' Social Security benefits. All three bills were referred to committees and they remain there as of the date of this report.

The only readily available information about whether Connecticut municipal employees are covered by Social Security is for the municipal employees covered by the state-run Municipal Employees Retirement Fund (MERF). According to the fund's most recent valuation report, as of July 1, 2005, 40% of the active MERF members and 47% of MERF retirees are not covered by Social Security for the MERF-credited municipal service. There is no way to obtain similar information about municipal employees in non-MERF towns without surveying those towns individually.

UPDATE OF 2006 REPORT – RECENT CONGRESSIONAL ACTION

The only updated information we can add to our September 28, 2006 report on teachers and Social Security (2006-R-0547) concerns bills that have been introduced in Congress to change the Social Security windfall elimination and government pension offset provisions. According to the Library of Congress, three bills on this subject have been introduced so far in the first (2007) session of the 110th Congress. They are:

H.R. 726, Windfall Elimination Provision Relief Act of 2007, to (1) restrict the application of the windfall elimination provision to individuals whose combined monthly income from benefits under the Social Security Act and other monthly periodic payments exceeds a minimum COLA-adjusted amount of $2,500 and (2) provide for a graduated implementation of such provision on amounts above such minimum amount. Introduced 1/30/07 by Rep. Frank (D-Mass.), Referred to House subcommittee on Social Security, 2/7/07.

S. 206, Social Security Fairness Act of 2007, to repeal the windfall elimination and government pension offset provisions. Introduced 1/9/07 by Sen. Feinstein (D-Cal.), Referred to Senate Committee on Finance.

H.R. 82, Social Security Fairness Act of 2007, to repeal the windfall elimination and government pension offset provisions. Introduced 1/11/07 by Rep. Berman (D-Cal.) and 236 co-sponsors. Referred to House subcommittee on Social Security.

MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES NOT COVERED BY SOCIAL SECURITY

Although public school teachers and school administrators are the largest group of public employees in Connecticut who are not covered by Social Security for their Connecticut public school teaching service, a number of municipal employees are also employed outside the Social Security system. This report provides statistics on the number of municipal employees who are (1) not covered by Social Security and (2) members of the state-run Municipal Employees Retirement Fund (MERF). This is the only municipal employee group for which statistics are available. There is no central database that shows the Social Security status of municipal employees covered by local municipal pension plans.

MERF's most recent valuation report, dated July 1, 2005, shows that, of the 8,490 active MERF members, 3,400 (40%) are not covered by Social Security for their municipal service. And of 4,928 MERF retirees, 2,315 (47%) are not covered by Social Security. Table 1 shows the individual town entities employing these members and the numbers of their active and retired MERF members as of July 1, 2005.

Table 1: MERF Members Not Covered by Social Security

July 1, 2005

Employee Group

Active Employees

Retirees

Branford Fire

30

12

Bridgeport City

943

1,167

Bridgeport Education

871

213

Bridgeport H.D.A.

64

41

East Haven Education

77

68

East Haven Fire

47

35

East Haven Police

53

38

East Haven Town & Public Works

99

60

Hartford Local 1716

0

1

Manchester Fire

79

62

Mattabasset District (Cromwell)

30

24

New Britain City

331

291

New Britain Education

449

185

New Britain Fire

34

NA

New Britain Police

46

NA

New London Police

72

11

Seymour Police

37

19

Shelton Police

53

22

Stonington Police

34

27

Windsor Police

51

39

TOTAL

3,400

2,315

Source: Report on the Actuarial Valuation of the Connecticut Municipal Employees Retirement System, Buck Consultants, July 1, 2005

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