Public Employee Press
to members in FICA refund hardship cases
In a case filed by the Doctors
Council with assistance from District Council 37, New York States
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 citys 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.