California's Official State Social Security Administrator

Who We Are

CalPERS serves as the official Social Security Administrator for the State of California's Section 218 Agreement, referred to as the Master Agreement. We're your liaison to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to address Section 218 coverage-related issues and questions. We provide services to all California public agencies, whether or not they contract with CalPERS for retirement or health benefits. The State Social Security Administrator (SSSA) program isn't part of core pension and health benefit programs and is unrelated to other contracts with CalPERS.

Our Services

The State Social Security Administrator (SSSA) provides:

  • Guidance in resolving issues related to Section 218 Agreement coverage
  • Assistance in determining mandatory Social Security and Medicare coverage or Section 218 Agreement coverage
  • Processing modifications to the Master Agreement to cover new agencies and/or correct erroneous reporting
  • Social Security & Medicare employer education webinars
  • Informational meetings to discuss Social Security and/or Medicare contracting options
  • Copies of an agency's Section 218 Agreement and related records
  • Notifications of organization structure changes to the SSA
  • Guidance with resolving employment tax compliance issues

Annual Information Request (AIR)

All of California's public agencies and schools, including those that don't have Section 218 Agreements, will receive and are required to complete the AIR.

We're federally mandated to report any agencies with Section 218 Agreements that become inactive, merged, dissolved, or have changed names to the SSA. These types of changes can be reported by way of the AIR questionnaire.

The AIR questionnaire can be completed online in myCalPERS. Once available in your myCalPERS business account, a designated Social Security Administrator contact will be notified. We ask that you complete the AIR within 30 days of notification.

If you have questions or are having difficulties with the online AIR questionnaire, contact us by phone at (916) 795-0810 or email.

Interested in learning more about Section 218 coverage, or need assistance understanding the complex Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) tax laws? We provide a variety of events and resources to assist you.

Employer Webinars

Learn more about the Social Security and Medicare program. Payroll officers and human resources professionals are encouraged to register.

Topics include:

  • Social Security & Medicare program overview
  • Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax compliance
  • Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)
  • Government Pension Offset (GPO)
  • How to contract for a Section 218 Agreement

Register for Social Security & Medicare Webinars online or email us for assistance.

Note: Information is collected in accordance with our Privacy Notice.

CalPERS Benefits Education Events (Members)

Register to attend an upcoming CalPERS Benefits Educational Event (CBEE), in a city near you, to plan for your retirement. Gain a general understanding of the Social Security benefits available to you and your family.

Federal, State, and Local Government (FSLG) Self-Assessment

The FSLG Compliance Self-Assessment (PDF) was created by the IRS, in coordination with SSA and the National Conference of State Social Security Administrators (NCSSSA), to allow employers to review major areas of federal tax law and identify areas where compliance issues may exist. This anonymous voluntary self-assessment can help determine the level of compliance with federal tax requirements as it relates to federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and public retirement system obligations.

Note: The self-assessment tool is intended as a general guide for the most common tax issues that public employers may encounter, and to direct those entities to additional information as necessary. It isn't intended to provide legal advice and does not cover every question that may be encountered. The tool is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or a determination by the IRS with respect to a particular tax situation. The sources cited should be reviewed for complete information.

Section 218 Coverage

Public employers have the option to contract for Social Security and/or Medicare through a Section 218 Agreement. Contracting for Social Security and/or Medicare must be initiated by the employer. In California, contracting for coverage is done in conjunction with an already established public retirement system. Employers who don't have an established retirement system are required to withhold Social Security and Medicare based on mandatory Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) requirements outlined by the IRS in the Federal-State Reference Guide – IRS Publication 963 (PDF).

How to Contract for Benefits

The Section 218 Agreement contract process is a six-step process that can take 18-24 months to complete.

Step 1
Resolution Information Packet
Step 2
Procedure Plan
Step 3
Step 4
Application and Agreement Documents
Step 5
SSA Review
Step 6
SSA Decision

Note: Employees, labor groups, unions, and other representatives may not initiate contracts for Section 218 coverage. Section 218 Agreements must be initiated by the employer.

To learn more about the Section 218 program and contracting process, visit Section 218 Agreements, or email us to request an information session.

Form SSA-1945

The Social Security Protection Act of 2004 required state and local government employers to provide Social Security's form, SSA-1945 (PDF), to new employees hired on or after January 1, 2005 in jobs not covered under Social Security. The form explains the potential effects of the two provisions in the Social Security law for workers who also receive a pension based on their work in a job not covered by Social Security:

  1. Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - impacts the amount of an employee's Social Security retirement or disability benefit.
  2. Government Pension Offset (GPO) - impacts Social Security benefits received as a spouse or an ex-spouse.

For this form, we recommend employers ensure the following steps are taken:

  • Provide the form to the employee prior to the start of employment
  • Obtain the employee's signature on the form
  • Maintain the original form in the employee’s file
  • Submit a copy of the signed form to the agency's pension agency

For more information, visit Social Security Administration State and Local Government Employers Information.

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

In 1983, Congress passed the WEP to prevent employees who received non-covered pensions (no Social Security taxes paid) from the "windfall" of receiving the higher Social Security benefit calculation typically used for longtime, low-wage earners.

The WEP may reduce Social Security benefits for those who receive any portion of their pension not covered by Social Security, and who also qualify for benefits based on other Social Security-covered earnings.

Below is detailed information that may apply to CalPERS members:

  • Not all CalPERS members are impacted by the WEP. Members should check their warrant or pay stub or review their earnings statement through their my Social Security Account to identify if Social Security taxes have been withheld.
  • Any reduction would be to a Social Security benefit, not a CalPERS pension.
  • If a refund of CalPERS retirement contributions is taken in a lump sum, Social Security will still calculate the reduction as if a monthly government pension payment was received.
  • The WEP may not apply if there are 30 or more years of substantial earnings in employment where Social Security taxes were paid.
    • If between 20-30 years of substantial earnings were covered by Social Security, the WEP may still apply, but at a lesser impact.

For more information about WEP and a list of exceptions, review the Windfall Elimination Provision (Publication No. 05-10045) (PDF) and use the WEP Calculator. Encourage employees to obtain a copy of their earnings record and utilize these tools to identify how their Social Security benefit may be affected.

Government Pension Offset (GPO)

The GPO applies when a government pension based on employment not covered by Social Security is received and there is eligibility for a spouse or surviving spouse's Social Security benefit.

The GPO provisions don't apply if employment has always been covered by Social Security.

For more information about GPO, review Government Pension Offset (Publication No. 05-10007) (PDF) and use the GPO Calculator, with the spouse's earnings record, to determine potential impact.

Social Security & Your CalPERS Pension

Find more information on how your Social Security benefits may be impacted by your CalPERS pension.

Social Security & Your CalSTRS Pension

Find more information on how your Social Security benefits may be impacted by your CalSTRS pension.

my Social Security Account

Sign up for a my Social Security account to access statements, review estimates of future Social Security retirement benefits, and more.

Note: The normal retirement calculators on the Social Security Administration website won't reflect WEP or GPO reductions.

Who to Contact

For more information about Social Security benefit offsets, contact the Social Security Administration. You can search for a local Social Security office online.

If there's a possibility Social Security benefits were reduced incorrectly by the WEP or GPO, first reach out to the Social Security field office. To escalate for further assistance contact the following:

Medicare (Hospital Insurance) coverage was extended to all employees covered by a Section 218 Agreement on July 1, 1966. As of April 1, 1986, Medicare coverage became mandatory for state and local government employees hired (or rehired) after March 31, 1986. However, services performed after this date are exempt from mandatory Medicare coverage (known as the Continued Employment Exception) if the employee is a member of a public retirement system and meets all the following requirements:

  • The public employer did not have a valid Section 218 Agreement prior to July 1, 1966.
  • The employee was performing regular and substantial services for remuneration for the state or political subdivision employer before April 1, 1986.
  • The employee was a bona fide employee of the employer on March 31, 1986.
  • The employment relationship with the employer wasn't established for the purpose of avoiding the Medicare tax.
  • The employment relationship with the employer has been continuous since March 31, 1986.

For employees hired prior to April 1, 1986, who are currently not paying into Medicare, a Section 218 Agreement to provide Medicare Hospital Insurance only coverage can be elected. If the employer wishes to initiate this type of Section 218 Agreement, the employees once excluded from contributing may begin to contribute.

Email us for more information on how to initiate this process.

For more information, refer to section 13205 of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), section 3121(u) of the Internal Revenue Code (Application of Hospital Insurance Tax to Federal, State, and Local Employment), or the official government Medicare website.

Contact Information

State Social Security Administrator Program

(916) 795-0810

CalPERS - State Social Security Administrator Program
P.O. Box 720720
Sacramento CA, 94229-0720