Not eligible for Social Security

This week, I’m working on a story about pension costs among our local cities. During an interivew with Edward Fong of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, he mentioned that fire fighters and police officers up and down the state don’t contribute, and therefore aren’t eligible, to receive Social Security.

This explains why pension plans are typically more generous for fire fighters and police officers than non-sworn employees, Fong said. Another group of public employees exempt from Social Security is teachers, Fong said.



  • Not Exactly True

    Actually, most public employees don’t contribute to Social Security while contributing to PERS. You can verify this by checking with the local Cities and County. If any person doesn’t have enough time contributed to social security, they won’t be eligible for social security benefits.

  • Public Employee

    that is correct!

  • xyzxyz

    oh yeah, that explains why they can retire at age 50 with 90% of thier salary. imagine if you could do that on SS?

  • Anonymous


    I you really want to make this story interesting you should discuss the phenomena called SPIKING.

    For many of these public safety guys, the ultimate retirement benefit they get is dependent on the HIGHEST rate of compensation they received within the last 5 years preceding their retirement.

    In June, it was reported that San Pablo proposed reducing police officers’ retirement age from 55 to 50, with members supposedly to contribute 3.3 percent of their payroll to partly cover the costs. But four days after the pension deal, San Pablo’s new police contract included an additional 3.3 percent raise to offset the payroll deduction, making the pension spike free to employees. This is just one illustration of combining government union power with politicians’ short-term bias, due to re-election campaigns that come before all the effects of their policies become apparent.

    This is why the public safety unions are so focused on driving up the average rate of salary. It has a double whammy effect on the tax payer.

  • Pension Spiking

    Couldn’t help but comment on the previous post. Here is a link to an article that breaksdown how SPIKING works and how public safety unions especially cops abuse the overtime system to “spike” pension benefits (in addition to their own salaries).

    Jenifer, any analysis you do should include this:

  • anonymous

    My understanding that you are not prevented from collecting social security just because you worked as a police officer, teacher, etc.

    It is my understanding that many public employees (especially teachers) can work part time in other professions/jobs and thus qualify to receive both their inflated pensions AND social security.

  • Anonymous

    This is telling me loud and clear that is time to remind Voters that it is time to stop believing in Santa Claus when is time to vote and if you see any politicians supported by Police or Fire unions, it will cost us a lot of money to pay for their nice pensions….And please do not cry when they want to raise Taxes to pay for all this “Fat Pensions”.