TN 22 (04-01)

RS 01901.340 Federal Civilian Employment


Sections 210(a)(5) , (15) , 210(r) , and 211(c)(2)(C) of the Social Security Act;

Regulation No.4, Sec. 404.1018 , 404.1018(a) , and 404.1034(c) .


Before 1951, service for the Federal government is not covered. Service from 1951 through 1983 is covered unless it is:

  • subject to a retirement system established by a law of the U.S.;

  • otherwise specifically excluded by Section 210(a) of the Social Security Act; or

  • excluded by some other provision of law, (e.g., student services or services performed outside the U.S. by an alien).


The 1983 Amendments provide coverage on or after 1/1/84 to Federal civilian employees (including the employees of Federal instrumentalities) who on or after that date:

  1. Are hired for the first time.

  2. Return to Federal employment after a separation of 365 days or more.


    Coverage is not extended to those employees who previously held positions not covered under Social Security and who:

    • return to noncovered Federal service after a detail or transfer to an international organization listed in RS 01901.400B.; or

    • return to noncovered Federal service from service with the American Institute in Taiwan; or

    • exercise reemployment rights after service as a member of the uniformed service; or

    • return to noncovered Federal service after employment with an Indian tribal government.

  3. Return to Federal employment after a separation of less than 366 days and prior employment was subject to Social Security coverage and taxation under prior law.

  4. Elect the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) rather than the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).


1. Federal Officials

Service is covered if performed by:

  1. The President and Vice President of the United States;

  2. Individuals placed in the Executive Schedule under sections 5312 through 5317 of title 5, U.S. Code. (Includes level IV positions as cabinet heads, sub-cabinet members, agency top staff and commission members.);

  3. Noncareer appointees in the Senior Executive Service and noncareer members of the Senior Foreign Service;

  4. Individuals appointed by the President of the United States (or a designee) or the Vice President of the United States under sections 105(a)(1), 106(a)(1), or 107(a)(1) or (b)(1) of title 3, U.S. Code if the maximum rate of basic pay for the position is at or above the rate for Level V of the Executive Schedule. (Includes the White House Office staff, the Office of Administration staff, the Vice President's staff and the Domestic Policy Staff);

  5. The Chief Justice of the United States, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a U.S. Magistrate, a referee in bankruptcy, a U.S. Bankruptcy judge, or a judge of:

    • a U.S. Appeals Court,

    • a U.S. District Court,

    • the U.S. Claims Court,

    • the U.S. Court of International Trade, or

    • the U.S. Tax Court.

  6. All Members, Delegates, or Resident Commissioners of or to the Congress.

NOTE: Some persons holding positions described above are career civil servants. They remain subject to Social Security coverage when they return to their permanent positions.

2. Employees of the Legislative Branch

  1. Generally, legislative branch employees are covered under Social Security unless they are covered under the CSRS or certain other retirement systems for employees of the Federal government.

  2. The legislative branch includes:

    • Congress, including the Senate and the House of Representatives; and

    • the Architect of the Capitol, the United States Botanical Gardens, the General Accounting Office, the Government Printing Office, the Library of Congress, the Office of Technology Assessment, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Copyright Royalty Tribunal.

3. Reemployed Annuitants

  1. Services performed by reemployed CSRS annuitants are excluded from OASDI Social Security coverage but such services are subject to Hospital Insurance coverage.

  2. For cases involving FERS reemployed annuitants and vested CSRS annuitants (employees with at least 5 years under CSRS who elect FERS while in employment status), refer individuals to their personnel office to determine how the services are treated.

  3. Services performed by reemployed annuitants who have an approved waiver of offset under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act are covered under Social Security. The employing agency requests the waiver from the Office of Personnel Management in emergency situations or when there is a severe recruiting difficulty. See References in Section E of this section for more information regarding waiver of offsets for reemployed annuitants.

4. Retired Federal Judges and Justices

Three Social Security amendments affect coverage for retired Federal judges. They are:

  1. P.L. 98-21 amended the Act so that remuneration paid after 12/31/83 for services of retired Federal judges and justices is covered.

  2. P.L. 98-118 amended the Act so that remuneration paid after 12/31/85 for services of retired Federal judges and justices is covered.

  3. P.L.99-272 further amended the treatment of services performed by retired Federal judges and justices to exempt from coverage all remuneration for services performed after 12/31/83.

As a consequence, remuneration for services of retired Federal judges and justices is totally excluded from employment.

5. Student Employees with U.S. Army Engineers

Section 2360 of the Armed Forces Act (title 10) provides for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Laboratories to contract for seasonal or part-time student employment to perform services as aides in their laboratories.

The services of these students are not covered for Social Security or CSRS purposes.

These students are also excluded from self-employment coverage because they are not rendering services in a trade or business, nor are they deemed to be self-employed.

6. Federal Employees Transferred Temporarily to International Organizations

a. Prior to 1/1/95

All services performed in the employ of an international organization (as described in RS 01901.400) are excluded from employment for Social Security coverage purposes. This provision applies to civilian as well as Federal employees.

Coverage Within the U.S. -- Those performing services for an international organization within the U.S. are considered self-employed because they provide services in a trade or business. Income from a trade or business is self-employment income.

Coverage Outside the U.S. -- Service for an international organization outside the U.S. is excluded from coverage.

b. Effective 1/1/95

Coverage Within the U.S. -- Services performed within the U.S. for an international organization by FERS and FSPS employees are covered as employment with the Federal agency from which the employees are temporarily transferred.

Coverage Outside the U.S. -- All services performed for an international organization (as described in RS 01901.400) after 12/31/94 by Federal employees participating in the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) or the Foreign Service Pension System (FSPS) who temporarily transfer to that organization may now be considered employment when performed outside the U.S. if:

  1. immediately before the transfer the worker performed service with a Federal agency that meets the definition of employment under the Act, and

  2. upon separation from the international organization, the worker may return to the Federal agency he previously worked for.

Such services are covered as employment with the Federal agency from which the Federal employees are transferred.

7. Other Excluded Services

Service is excluded from all coverage when performed as:

  • an inmate in a Federal penal institution (RS 01901.560);

  • a student in a Federal hospital other than medical or dental interns or residents in training;

  • an emergency employee (temporary services during fire, hurricane, earthquake or similar emergencies); or

  • an individual excluded by other provisions of law such as a foreign student or cultural exchange visitor.


FOs, PCs and OCO do not determine whether a Federal employee is subject to Social Security coverage. If it appears the employing agency's determination is incorrect, follow RS 01901.380.

E. References

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
RS 01901.340 - Federal Civilian Employment - 10/06/2011
Batch run: 10/06/2011