Fourteen states cover substantial numbers of their public employees under independent plans:

  1. Louisiana
  2. Texas
  3. California
  4. Missouri
  5. Kentucky
  6. Ohio 
  7. Nevada
  8. Alaska
  9. Colorado
  10. Illinois
  11. Massachusetts
  12. Minnesota
  13. Connecticut
  14. Maine

From 20% to 100% of the public employees in each of these states are not covered by Social Security.

Firefighters and Police officers in nearly every state are not covered by Social Security.

Nationwide, about 6.6 million public employees are covered by state or local plans in lieu of Social Security.

Approximately one-fourth of employees of state and local government do not participate in Social Security. This includes most, to substantially all, public employees in Louisiana, Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Ohio.

In addition, approximately two-thirds of public safety officers–firefighters and police officers–do not participate in Social Security. These workers are in the seven states listed above and many other states.

An estimated one-half of public school teachers do not participate in Social Security, including a majority to substantially all in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas.

Also, more than one-fourth, but less than one-half of public school teachers in Georgia and Rhode Island also do not participate in Social Security.

Both employers and employees who do not participate in Social Security do not pay the Social Security portion of the FICA tax, (6.2 percent of payroll each). Public pension benefits for non-Social Security-eligible employees usually are higher than those of other public employees, to compensate for the absence of Social Security benefits.

Non-participation in Social Security dates to the origins of the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program in 1935, when coverage was limited to private sector workers due to constitutional concerns regarding the authority of the federal government to impose taxes on states and political subdivisions (see Section 218 agreements, below). These concerns were addressed in Social Security Amendments of 1950.