1. #1
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    Default Social Security Question?

    I sure feel like I'm asking a bunch of newbie questions and I apologize but starting a career as a firefighter is like getting my first serious job all over again, there are many differences in civil service than in private companies and I don't understand all the rules yet.

    So my question is, I just started a career as a paid firefighter and I have to pay social security tax (no big deal) but the police officers in my city and other friends I have who are full time firefighters in other towns and states do not pay social security. So I'm wondering why me and not others? Will my retirement be higher in the end than my non-ss tax paying friends or is this just something that the union for the police was able to negotiate but not the firefighter's union.

    And again, I've asked several new guy questions over the last month or two and I do appreciate the time some to read and answer my questions. Thanks again.

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    Son, You need to get in a pension system. If anyone in this day and age thinks that Social Security is going to provide for you when you need it to their out of their skulls.

    Perhaps your union does need to negotiate it to get, I'm not quite sure on that perhaps others would be in a better position to answer that.

    The pension will provide you a set percentage of your pay at retirement based on the past year or few years (depending upon where you live). By the way, you're retirement will be nowhere near where a pension will get you. If you can't get into the system then you have to plan ahead, far ahead, for your own retirement and to be able to provide for you in the future.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    Thanks for the reply, let me clarify. We have a mandatory contribution to our pension plus social security (plus my personal IRA). Others I know have the mandatory contribution but no social security so I was wondering the difference between the pension + ss payers and the pension w/ no ss payers. . . if that makes sense.

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    I'd do a little research. I have never heard of anyone having to pay into a pension system AND SS. I'm surious if anyone else has run into this type of set. Usually a person contributes to one or the other. It makes no sense.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

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    My friend's father was a public school teacher for 30 years. His union didn't pay into Social Security. After he retired, he had to take a job at a parochial high school to pay the bills.

    Not a knock on the union, just something to keep in mind.

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    There ARE cases where firefighters are double pensioned. ie: Firefighter pension AND social security. It is not real common but it does occur. It usually arises when a smaller municipality first hired their city employees, police, fire, public works etc.. Some of these places opted to get into social security prior to joining a state pension fund. The sticky part is, once you are in Social Security, you cant get out. There was a short window a long time ago that allowed communities to get out. THE LOCAL UNION DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ADMINISTERING THE PENSION FUND.

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    We pay into both, pension and SS, and I could swear I remember someone telling me once that we only get 40% of what we pay into SS because we get a pension. Try explaining the logic behind that one I'll do a little research on the subject and see what I come up with.

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    nsc,

    First, I'm not a money expert. However, I seem to remember that up to a specific date in time (which I don't know right now) certain occupations did not pay into Social Security; I know my Dad who was a teacher did not. Since that date, those occupations have been required to pay into SS in order to fund Medicare or Medicaid.

    Hope that helps.
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    1. Medicare is funded by "Medicare Tax" deductions, not Social Security. Check your pay stub and you will see a separate line for that deduction.

    2. There are approximately 8 or 9 states where state employees and municipal employees who are participants in the state retirement system are not covered by Social Security. When you try to compare the math, it's just mind boggling.

    Example: if you are in such a plan and not covered by Social Security, if soemthing happens to you before retirement, your widow and children do not get SSA benefits. If you survive to retirement and then pass away, your widow does not get the survivor benefits from SSA that would otherwise be due.

    Example: if you are working on the side to build up Social Security credits so you can draw both pensions in retirement, think again. Your Social Security benefit will be reduced by the retirement plan benefit.

    There are no dumb questions. You need to meet with your payroll department and ask for an explanation. If you have some type of plan other than SSA, ask them for their information package. If you don't ask NOW, then when you need it later, you'll be very disappointed.

    Hope this helps.
    Remember, it IS as bad as you think and they ARE out to get you!

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    Receiving around 40% as a previous post stated is not accurate. I believe its around 60% of what you should receive. This was due to a law change during the Regan years to eliminate double dipping from federal employees. The fire service wound up getting tangled in this language. If you have already worked and paid into the SS system prior to a Paid FF job, thatís doesn't count. When you retire your monthly SS check/payment 40% is held back. It currently, I believe, is being talked about in congress to address these shortcomings for public safety employees.

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