Effective for modifications filed after August 15, 1994, all States may provide coverage
for police officer and firefighter positions under a retirement system by use of the
majority vote referendum procedure. The retirement system coverage group consists
of all current and future employees in positions under the retirement system in which
the referendum was held, including ineligibles.
In addition, those States and all interstate instrumentalities authorized under Section
218(d)(6)(C) of the Act, may also use the divided vote procedure. If the divided vote
procedure is used, the retirement system coverage group consists of all members who
chose coverage and future members except that "ineligibles" may not be covered as
a part of such a group.
Congressional authorization alone is not sufficient to provide Social Security coverage
to police officer and firefighter positions under a retirement system. As with other
retirement system—covered positions, there must also be authority to provide coverage
under State law and the Federal-State Section 218 Agreement.
The State must first review state statutes and its enabling act to see if existing
language prohibits extending Social Security coverage under the Section 218 Agreement
to police officer and firefighter positions under a retirement system. If this language
exists, the State must remove it, which usually requires action by the state legislature.
Once the legislature passes corrective legislation, or if there is no prohibitive
language to correct, then the State must modify the Section 218 Agreement to permit
coverage of police officer and firefighter positions already covered by a retirement
system, see template in SL 40001.490, Exhibit 30. Only then, can the State begin holding referendums and extending coverage
to those positions.
Before holding the referendum, the state must decide what the retirement system will
be for referendum and coverage purposes. In addition to the choices of what shall
constitute a retirement system under the majority vote and divided vote procedures,
the State has additional choices for covering police officers and firefighters. It
the police positions only to be the retirement system;
the firefighter positions only to be the retirement system; or
the positions of police officers and firefighters to be the retirement system.