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  Public Employee Press

PEP Feb 2004
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Help available to members in FICA refund hardship cases

In a case filed by the Doctors’ Council with assistance from District Council 37, New York State’s highest court overturned a longstanding policy that banned part-time workers from city pension systems.

The 1988 Court of Appeals decision allowed part-time doctors and dentists to participate, and in 1992 the court expanded its ruling to include part-time employees of the Board of Education.

Subsequently, the federal Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service determined that the part-time city employees who became eligible for pensions under the court decision should not have been subject to Social Security taxes (FICA) for the period between Jan. 1, 1986 and July 1, 1991.

The city of New York successfully claimed a refund of FICA taxes paid during that period by the city and by affected individual employees. The vast majority of members covered by the FICA refund claim authorized the city to collect their shares of the claim and forward the money to them.

The refunds meant that some employees’ Social Security payments were reduced and some did not have enough quarter-years of Social Security payments to receive benefits.

To find out if your benefits will be affected, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov. Request a copy of your Social Security statement.

Hardship benefits are available
Members who received a refund of their FICA payments and then had their Social Security benefits reduced may apply to the city’s FICA Hardship Program for a one-time payment. To apply, contact the FICA Hardship Unit, Office of Payroll Administration, at One Centre Street, Room 200N, New York, NY 10007.

Contact them also if you need a new copy of the FICA hardship letter that was previously sent. Members who because of the FICA refund did not have the 40 quarters of payments required to obtain benefits may apply for reemployment in order to obtain the required quarters.


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