Make an employer employee relationship determination when a worker claims that his
or her alleged employer has misclassified his or her employment status. In most cases,
the worker is in the best position to make such claims. However, some workers, particularly
in sheltered workshops, may not understand how their employer’s classification might
affect them and they may fear that their jobs will be jeopardized if they raise questions
about their employment status. SSA also investigates misclassification claims made
a worker’s representative payee,
an advocacy group acting on his or her behalf, etc.
Example of when we would make a sheltered workshop employment determination
Charley has worked as an employee in the Goodwork sheltered workshop for ten years.
Although the employer pays him less than the minimum wage, he has earned enough to
get two Social Security credits every year. Charley’s parents anticipate that he will
continue to work at the workshop and earn enough to qualify for title II benefits.
However, if Goodwork changes Charley’s status to a non-employee, he can no longer
earn work credits; and without those (or some other) wages, Charley may not be eligible
to title II benefits (although he probably will qualify for SSI benefits). In such
a case, either Charley, or his parent(s), could ask SSA to determine if Charley is
an employee of Goodwork for coverage purposes.
CAUTION: In some cases, a sheltered workshop may be the representative payee for a worker
who is also a title II beneficiary or SSI recipient. If, in its role as the worker’s
employer, the workshop makes a decision that adversely affects the beneficiary’s potential
entitlement to title II benefits, benefit amount, etc., such action may raise a question
about whether the workshop is suitable to be a payee. For additional information on
determining the need for a successor payee, see GN 00504.100.
NOTE: If a sheltered workshop is a State or local government entity, you may need to develop
further to determine if we cover the worker’s services under a Section 218 agreement,
or as a Medicare qualified government employee (MQGE).
For information on State and local coverage, see RS 01505.001.
For the rules of Mandatory Coverage for State and Local Government Employees, see
For the rules on Medicare Qualified Government Employment, see RS 01505.025.
In addition, if the field office or regional office judges that multiple claims of
improper employer-employee relationship determinations by the same employer indicate
a pattern of abuse (e.g., the employer is ignoring the common law rules and classifying
all workers as non-employees to avoid paying FICA taxes), you can submit such cases
to OISP to follow-up with the IRS. Send an explanation of the situation, evidence,
and documentation to:
SSA, ORDP, OISP, OEEMP
Attn: Coverage and Earnings Team
6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235