Social Security Coverage of State and Local Government Employees

Dawn Nuschler, Alison M. Shelton, and John J. Topoleski
Publication Date: 
July 25, 2011

About one-fourth of state and local government employees are not covered by Social Security for various historical and other reasons. Unlike state and local pension plan coverage, Social Security coverage is portable (i.e., coverage is transferrable as a worker moves from job to job). Mandatory Social Security coverage would prevent gaps in coverage that can adversely affect workers, especially those who become disabled. Some supporters of mandatory coverage argue that Social Security reduces poverty among retired and disabled workers, spouses, dependent children, and the survivors of deceased workers. They argue that all workers should share in providing this poverty reduction, which has national benefits.