Prior to 1983, Federal employees who were covered under a Federal retirement system
did not have Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes withheld from their
Federal earnings. As a result, their Federal earnings could not be used to insure
them for Title II benefits or for Hospital Insurance (HI).
Section 278 of Public Law 97-248 (Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982) amended the law, effective January
1, 1983, to provide for deduction of the HI portion of the FICA tax from Federal earnings,
thereby allowing Federal earnings to be used to insure employees for HI. These individuals
earn government employment quarters of coverage (GEQCs), which may be used to insure
them for HI, but not for Title II benefits.
These GEQCs are credited for the same amount of wages and in the same way as Social
Security quarters of coverage (SSQCs). They can be used alone, or in combination with
SSQCs for work in covered employment, to meet the insured status requirements for
Medicare. Further, the law contains a transitional provision that provides that any
Federal employee who was an employee during January 1983, received deemed GEQCs for
his or her Federal service prior to January 1983, where there are insufficient SSQCs
or GEQCs to be insured. Thus, it is possible for Federal employees to meet insured
status in January 1983, and to be eligible to file claims for Medicare.
Federal employees hired after 12/31/83 are subject to the full FICA tax and earn regular
SSQCs. In addition, Federal employees need the same number of total QCs to qualify
for Medicare as they need to qualify under SS and must meet the regular requirements
as to age, disability, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) to have Medicare coverage.
NOTE: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is responsible for providing PolicyNet
instructions concerning Medicare policy. If there are any discrepancies between other
Program Operations Manual System (POMS) instructions and the Medicare policy in the
HI POMS, the HI POMS take precedence.
RS 00301.160 – Insured Status Based on Medicare Qualified Government Employment
HI 00801.400 – Medicare Qualified Government Employment (MQGE)