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Avoiding FICA Social Security Payroll Taxes

Author: Schwartzapfel Partners P.C.

Published: 2011-07-15 : (Rev. 2016-03-29)


Very few of us have a choice about paying Social Security taxes through the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA).

Main Digest

Many working Americans view Social Security taxes as mandatory investments that will never provide them with a return. Learn the facts about Social Security's payroll tax.

You're paying Social Security payroll taxes and you've seen the news: Social Security Trust Funds are projected to fully deplete within the next quarter-century. Naturally, you may have concluded that your Social Security taxes have been an involuntary investment that you'll never get a good return on. You may be curious as to whether you can cut your losses and opt out of paying Social Security taxes, since you believe Social Security Trust Funds won't survive long enough for you to receive the benefits yourself.

Unfortunately, very few of us have a choice about paying Social Security taxes through the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA). While some states allow particular state government workers to opt out of the Social Security taxes, New York only has one exception. In NY, Only members of the clergy can opt out of Social Security taxes - and the subsequent ability to receive such benefits. However, the Social Security situation isn't as bleak as younger Americans may believe at first glance.

Even assuming that the worst-case scenario comes true and the Social Security Trust Fund is exhausted before you reach eligibility for retirement-age benefits, there are several other forms of benefits that Social Security pays out to eligible Americans.

Here are just a few of the instances where a working-age person could still benefit through Social Security:

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits

Americans who are considered "disabled" under the Social Security Administration's definition may be able to collect SSD benefits if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

When someone can't work due to a disabling injury, mental impairment, or old age, SSI provides medical assistance and cash payments. When a child is disabled, parents or family members may collect SSI to aid in care for the child.

Family and Spouse Social Security Benefits

Spouses and children of disabled workers may be able to collect benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and sometimes may be able to receive both simultaneously.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Surviving Children

Children who survive the death of a parent may be able to received Social Security Disability benefits.

The Social Security system is complex and there are many different avenues to benefits when a worker is disabled or dies. Unfortunately, costly mistakes can quickly ruin one's Social Security Disability claim. The wisest move is to contact an experienced disability claim advocate to help you assess your options.

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