About Teacher Pensions

Teachers and Social Security

Forty percent of all K-12 teachers are not enrolled in Social Security, including a substantial portion of teachers in 15 states—Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas. Not only do many of these teachers miss out on benefits from their state’s pension system if they leave teaching or move to another state, they will also have fewer years of earnings from which to draw a Social Security benefit. Enrolling employees in Social Security is not a substitute for sustainable retirement systems for teachers but is another way states and districts can provide benefits to a mobile workforce. Because it is a national retirement security and disability program, Social Security is the very definition of portable. From the employer’s perspective, Social Security also eases the burden on state and district pension plans. Participating employers are able to offer their own less-expensive pension plans, which helps lower their unfunded liability and reduce funding uncertainty.