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Social Security:Who is covered?

Updated on May 13, 2013

Social security is a program which covers most employees in this country, however an individual must meet certain criteria to even be considered. An individual must first be an employee defined by common law, as well as provide employment services under FICA law. The monies paid for employment must also be defined as taxable wages under FICA’s tax laws.

An employer is defined as “a person who employs one or more individuals that performs a service in the United States. An employee is defined as someone that a business does or has the right to tell a worker how when and where to work.

Even if the above criteria is met, a person can still be exempt from taxes and benefits if they work in certain employment fields or do not make enough per year to real the stipulated amount. If a small farm only has a few seasonal workers and pays no more than 2500 in total or 150 dollars per worker, per year, they are considered exempt. Services of a domestic variety in a college setting could be exempt for social security tax if the employee is enrolled in the school and the services are rendered to a club or college fraternity chapter. Other exempt fields with their own set of exempt guidelines are railroad workers, nursing students, minors delivering papers and working for local or foreign government.

Independent contractors in four fields are also considered covered and taxed. Each field will have stipulations in their coverage, however the four fields are; commission/agent driver, life insurance sales, traveling/city sales and certain home based activities making products.


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