What is FICA

FICA taxes help provide benefits for retirees, disabled people and children. This contribution helps your parents and grandparents have a secure retirement while securing today and tomorrow for you and your future family. Learn more about FICA.

FICA information


57 thoughts on “What is FICA

  1. Hi, I’m not child but I have 2 child’s Boys
    Edith P Keller
    Quidumweg 11 4143 Dornach Switzerland
    +4179 551 3990


  2. My question/comment is how to explain the need for all to contribute to this tax above all others especially when everyone eventually gets a benefit at later end of working life. I just don’t understand whinny one sees the importance of this and why the government feels the need to put the funds elsewhere, totally eliminating the purpose of the tax.

    • @Maria Rose: Because humans live together in groups, and we ALL contribute a bit to the common pot for the good of ALL of us. That’s what humans – and in fact, all non-human animals as well – do, as a matter of survival, instinct, and psychological necessity. Until very recent times, it has always been the collective good; this fiction that’s been promoted in the past couple of decades by the far right of “everyone taking care of him or herself” is a myth. Do you have a toilet stool in your bathroom, for instance? And use it? Well, the sewer system carries away the waste to the treatment plant without need for you to go find somewhere to get rid of it yourself. And that sewer system is for everyone. Who pays for it? We all do, with our tax dollars. Without this, we’d have sewage running down the center of dirt roads, exactly as it was in days past before treatment plants and city utilities were designed and implemented. There are still many countries today where people are still squatting in fields and on the side of the road; acvordingly, they have extremely high rates of cholera and other diseases we don’t even think about. Without the government to provide water, sewer, utilities, police, fire, etc, we’d be in chaos. Now, that was one tiny example; of course as societies became more complex, around 6000 years ago, they added more and more ways to provide for the common good. Even in Bible days, they had the collective granary so that during times of drought or famine, everyone could be fed, receiving a share from the common store, because the government was taking care of all the peoples’ basic needs. The Roman Empire in the time of Christ even had a welfare program by which they provided food and housing for the poor; even they took care of their sick and disabled.

      Obviously, society is even more complex now. Because literally everything is driven by money, we all need it to provide even our own most basic needs just to live. Prior to Social Security, when peoole grew old and could no longer work for an income, many of them became destitute and homeless and had no options to care for themselves. For that reason, over 60 years ago Congress decided that our elderly should not be living in the streets when they couldn’t work any more. As a solution, they created Social Security as a means by which to ensure that everyone has a chance to live out their final years in safety and dignity. This orogram has gone on to become the most successful program in our country’s history, paying for itself (it is 100% self-funded, no money comes to Social Security from the General Fund nor has it contributed one penny to the national debt) and operating so efficiently it only spends 1% of what it takes in for administration of the program – and that’s saying a lot. For more background information, you might try reading a little American history, particularly of the government’s ongoing efforts to address the needs of the people by setting up programs like Medicare and Medicaid so that the elderly, disabled, and financially disadvantaged for whatever reason could get medical care when they needed it. Medicare, another extremely efficient and successfully operated program, was created in the 1960s when the government recognized that these groups, particularly the elderly and disabled, could not (and still cannot, nor will they ever be able to) afford to buy health insurance on the so-called “open market” and thus were unable to get any medical treatment when they were ill.

      Let me be perfectly clear: the sole purpose of government, any government, is and always has been to take care of the basic needs of day-to-day living for ALL the people; whereas any for-profit private business has as their sole and primary mandate, their entire reason for existence, in fact, to generate as large a profit for the shareholders and other investors as possible. I am sure you can see that a focus on generating maximum profits is completely the opposite of ensuring that everyone has at least a minimum quality of life and an equal chance at survival as the only goal. Taxes, FICA, etc, are part of a fund that everyone contributes to so that all may survive in our later years or should we become unable to provide for ourselves. Some may call that “socialism;” however, that would make every species of the animal kingdom “socialists,” too. Since the beginning of time, both humans and all other species of non-human animals have formed groups in order to survive; for hunting (so all can be assured of enough to eat), protection (safety in numbers), to raise their young, etc. And by the way, non-human animal groups of every species work collectively to protect their most vulnerable members: the young, the old, and the sick/injured. While you’re reading American history (focus on the years after the Great Depression up to now, especially the 40s and the 60s) you may want to check out a little bit of human anthropology, and even a little bit about wild animals, including flocks of birds, schools of fish, herds of reindeer or zebras, elephants, wolves, etc. And in case you don’t like to read, you can always watch the Discovery Channel, The History Channel, and Animal Planet. Even if you can’t afford or don’t have TV service you can watch episodes of all these and more on Netflix or even YouTube for free on the Internet. There is no excuse for anyone in this day and age to continue to hold onto the false and misleading notion of “every man for himself” when we have literally all of human knowledge available to us at the click of a mouse. I hope this helped to explain at least a little of what it means to be a human and a member of a society.

      • Thank you so much for explaining this in such a manner:) there are too many people out their believing they are being ripped off by paying into S.S. What a wonderful program:)

      • Let’s be clear about these socialist programs – it’s stealing one’s property to give to another via the police powers of government . True welfare is voluntary, which is why charities were given tax exempt status. I was never asked to be included in any of these programs. Socialist security is still an unconstitutional ponzi scheme cooked up by the politicians to buy votes, ask yourself why people who receive these so called benefits are able to vote. I am so sick of watching the those who have fraudulently obtained disablement payments work full time under the table or who are otherwise healthy enough to work remain on ss while everyone works hard to pay for it. Still trying to find out how someone who is convicted of agg assault still gets payments. Makes no sense.

  3. Age 70+ worked 50+ years full-time. Now retired collecting SS and starting part-time work with a temp agency. I assume that I will be paying FICA but it will not increase my SS because it will be a lower average income than my full-time work. Any comment?

    • It is insurance and you are part of an insurance system with millions of others. Let’s put this another way: if you receive a claim paid to you for medical treatment by your insurance company, do they suspend premiums for you for the rest of your eligibility to the plan? Under social security, you have no private account, can be paid well beyond what you contributed personally and are contributing to a shared pool (the definition of insurance) so therefore you are collecting someone else’s contributions right now and are making contributions to others who come after you. This is not a personal pension or an annuity plan but social insurance insuring against the loss of income from work.

      • Hi, dear how can I buy insurance
        Could you please send me a information Thank you.
        Best regards
        Hassan Shahsavand

    • You are under a misconception. Part of the formula used to pay retirement benefits removes 5 of the lowest earning years from the calculation. There is a good chance what you now earn part time would be higher than what you made full time 30 years ago. Therefore the tax on your current earnings could increase the amount of your monthly benefit check.

      • All your years of earnings are adjusted for inflation, so part time wages now may not add to the monthly check. SS uses the highest 35 years of earnings.

  4. FICA is the Federal INSURANCE CONTRIBUTION Act under which CONTRIBUTIONS are TAXED to employees & employers that are not INVESTED to ensure retirees, disabled and children receive BENEFITS. Whereas pension plans are designed to be funded with less than 10% of wages to provide life time income after retirement, a 15%+ funding of social security may not be sufficient to provide less than the private pension plan. Can anyone employed by the administration explain any part of this?

  5. Perhaps I do not understand, but I do not think the title wording on the flyer is appropriate. It seems to either be poor grammar or perhaps a reference to foul language. In either case I do not think it is an acceptable opening statement for a flyer produced by a governmental agency with taxpayer dollars.

    • Mark I agree with you. This world we live in just keeps getting more and more base with little regard to any propriety. It is very inappropriate. Mr. Borland, as acting deputy commissioner of Communications, I think you owe your viewing public an apology.

      • Excuse me? In what possible way could the title, “WHAT is FICA” be considered “base,” “inappropriate,” or in any other way objectionable? You people clearly have it too good if that’s the worst thing you’ve seen on the Internet. Sheesh!

      • Same applies to you sir.
        Please tell me would you rather have something like that that tells it like it is or would you rather have something smoothed over with sugar and cream?
        I would much rather have a flyer that tells it like it is than something beating about the bush trying to sugar coat something.

    • Please tell me would you rather have something like that that tells it like it is or would you rather have something smoothed over with sugar and cream?
      I would much rather have a flyer that tells it like it is than something beating about the bush trying to sugar coat something.

  6. Will paying FICA give me work quarters to use towards my Medicare Part A benefits later in life? I am a government employee who does not pay into Social Security otherwise. Thank you.

    • OH YEA, and I am speaking from actual experience. I am 72 years old have have been on SS since I retired at 65, 7 years ago.
      Without FICA I would have nothing for my retirement other than my savings and with the costs of things today that savings would have been gone long ago.

  7. I have land for patents I am gathering on behalf of my family to secure from scam artists. Is there a short cut to procuring them or do I have to go state to state?

  8. Ok we all pay in total of 15.3% and 171 million do that to support those retired now and those retired pay a monthly fee for their Medicare ,and you can’t retire until
    you are 66! So how many died be for 66 and how many many died a few years after turning 66.But yet our gov’t
    tells us the fund is going broke! It’s all gov’t bullshit!

  9. To start with,as a hard worker then i do expect after 66 so i will died as this kind of people who died after 66 without hope.Besides,how you can help,thanks.GOD BLESS AMERICA.

  10. What percentage goes toward MEDICADE? Florida residents can be shielded from loosing their home if they are on MEDICADE and have the right to transfer it as an inheritance at their death. I know they can’t take anything with them! Indiana residents does not have the same opportunity, their home must be placed in a ill revocable trust to shield it. Otherwise the State takes title to recover unreimbursed expenses and that sounds fair because all taxpayers pay for the care of someone who doesn’t have the funds to pay. I know each state constitution is different and the USA constitution is basically to provide for defense of the USA against other hostile countries. Should the percentage collected from that person and any funds after the sale of their home and personal assets be provided as directed in their will or go to the state if intestate?

    • No, you’re incorrect. The entire Constitution is about providing for the common good of all americans; in fact, the Constitution itself forbids a formal standing Army, as it forbids fighting any war on foreign soil. The military as it is now was a creation of Congress. The Constitution is actually a very short document, you can read it in 15 minutes and it’s available as an app for both iPhone and Android. Check it out sometime.

  11. Sanders, Tony J. Brief on the Budget Declaration of the United States of America to the
    Secretary-General of the United Nations. Hospitals & Asylums HA-18-3-17 http://www.title24uscode.org/bdusa.pdf

    Life is a picnic. In the United States Anthony has been the most popular name for baby boys reported by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for years. Senator Bernie Sanders may have sold his soul to the Democrats; but it is not too late for representative democracy to benefit the people with the passage of Title 7 IRS Form 1040 Section 15 Voluntary 1-2% of Income United Nations Contribution of the Social Security Amendments of January 1, 2017. This is the final brief you, António, shall receive from me, Anthony, without reciprocity under Art. 36 (2)(4) of the Statute of the Court regarding this Declaration of Non-Self Governing Territories under Chapter XI of the UN Charter. The United States President has not submitted his budget contents to Congress by the first week of February under 31USC§1105. The new Republican White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director may be impeached for impeaching the Historical Tables, specifically required to be downloadable for picnicking, comparison and reconciliation by Title X State of the Union Section 24 To White House Office of Management and Budget (WHOMB) of the Social Security Amendments of January 1, 2017 above.

    Until late fall of 2017, for the winter burn season until it ends in spring of 2018, the Secretary shall not prescribe any burns on Forest Service land under 16USC§551c-1(a). 1,000 wildfires in California in the summer of 2016 negligently fails to maintain control of the heat of prescribed fires on Non-National Forest system lands that invariably damage the National Forest System under 261.5(g). Specifically, no permits causing timber, trees, slash, brush or grass to burn shall be authorized during the spring, summer, and early fall months under 36CFR §261.5 (c) shall be issued due to the melting of the Antarctic icecap in 2016 whereas it is unlawful to engage in open burning of waste on land under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 under 16USC§2403(a)(4) & (b)(I)(B).

    The White House OMB website now links to the historical budget documents and tables since 1996. America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again omits legislature, judiciary and ledger; does not accurately account for agency spending; and it is not lawful for military spending to increase more, or much less, than 2.5% over $583 billion reported by DoD FY 2017 (not $587 billion in the FY 2017 Historical Tables) – $598 billion FY 2018. DoD FY congressional budget justification must delete the Topline, Baseline, Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) and Other rows from the Department of Defense ‘Budget’ Since the September 11 Attacks to help OMB to account government spending growth in both the civilian and military along the lines of 2.5% = % new employees + % pay-raise, 3% in-kind welfare and average 4% cash welfare benefit spending growth that might be more like 7% in OASDI spending due to the surge of new Baby Boomers and 3% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) or 250% if the rich are taxed the full 12.4% OASDI tax on all income to end poverty by 2020 and begin to pay 16-24 children growing up poor.

    Summer Equinox Tables were emailed to inspire the Actuary to timely pdf publication of (1) the April Fool draft (2) Commissioner’s annual report on the SSI report in May and (3) revolutionary new Summer Solstice Instructions of the Board of Trustees of the OASDI Trust Funds and SSI Programs. The Actuary must anticipate several drafts in one year to account for the transition from his lifelong inability to calculate the OASDI tax rate to 2.4% DI 2017 and 2.2% DI 2018, three percent COLA all 2017, orphan and IDDM as qualifying disability, to taxing the rich “to end poverty 2020” by unanimous roll call vote, and maybe even get that long awaited piece of the $2.8 trillion OASI trust fund by making a withdrawal to pay for very high +/-4% growth in Baby Boomer retirees for the intermediate projection + 3% COLA = 7% annual spending growth in the OASI program.

  12. Hi, I have and still pay FICA taxes on my paychecks. I am getting SS benefits under my ex since I am 66. What I don’t understand is while I am still working I am still taxed 85% of my SS benefits. So I am paying taxes on taxes that was withheld from my paychecks for 40 years. It doesn’t seams fair because I choose to work.

    • Thank you for your comment Jocelyne. Everyone working in covered employment or self-employment regardless of age or eligibility for benefits must pay Social Security taxes. Also, some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits. For further income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS.

  13. Dear fellow Americans — FICA is not a dirty word! It’s an amazing benefit that accrues as soon as a worker receives formal pay, either as wages or salary. I was amazed at the deducitons from my first check when a high school senior clerking PT at Woolworth. My dad explained the purpose of all the deductions and I understood the point of common good, as my family understood it from the New Deal. Decades later my spouse and I both benefit from a lifetime of hard work and the security that if anything happened to us before retirement, some support would be available. The big hoodwink–and it’s really a cheat–is that there is a CAP on the amount of earnings that can be taxed to pay into the Social Security system. Most earners don’t know this as most don’t come anywhere near the ceiling in earnings. The cap is currently about $120,000/yr, which means that earnings above that amount are NOT taxed in FICA. What kind of fairness/common good is that? There should be NO cap; instead, a proportional tax on every worker, all the way to the top earners would ensure the future solvency of Soc Sec forever. It won’t mean more tax on YOU, who probably don’t earn enough to exceed the cap and didn’t know about the cap in the first place. Rather, just tell your senator and representative–“scrap the CAP,” so high earners will pay their fair share.

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  16. I am on social security retirement and have a parttime job, why is Fica being taken out of my paycheck?

    • Thank you for your question, Barbara. Federal laws require that everyone working in covered employment or self-employment regardless of age or eligibility for Social Security benefits must pay Social Security taxes.
      Also, some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits. For further income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040.

  17. I would like information about deductions to be taken from my social security check for taxes but need some help. At present, I am not taking out additional money for taxes throughout the year for my income taxes.
    Please contact me
    Karen Payette at kpayette51@gmal.com or call (469)999-7772. Thank you. Karen Payette

  18. My reply would be that maybe the Government should take a heck of a lot less in taxes and payroll deductions. The fixed rates for taxes on real estate at 25% to me is criminal. The ‘mandatory’ deductions OUTSIDE OF HEALTH&DENTAL that come out of our checks add up to another 30%. SO NOW WE AT 55% OF OUR INCOME GONE, 55%!!!!! NOW COMES ‘OBAMA’ CARE-AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE…..ANOTHER $320 A MONTH LEAVING LIKE NOTHING FOR MORTGAGE, RENT, HOUSEHOLD MAINTENANCE, SAVINGS, GROCERIES, UTILITIES, TRANSPORTATION AND THE INSURANCE FOR THAT……SINGLE PEOPLE CANNOT AFFORD TO LIVE. MYSELF AND MY KIDS HAVE BEEN TOTALLY BRUTALIZED AS WELL AS OUR HOME SINCE 1999, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  19. I am 72 years old and got a green card Feb. 2018. I paid fica tax for about 26 quarters while I worked in the US during 1982~88. At present I gets SS retirement benefits for $460 monthly based on US-Korea agreement. But I am not eligible for medicare.
    I have foreign salary income for $18,000 this year. Can I pay fica tax on this foreign income to fulfil 40 quarters?
    Or should I make some income in the US for paying fica tax?
    Also I’d like to know if my income report affects my benefits.
    Your kind response would be very appreciated.

  20. I am very unsure and insecure about my disability payments I receive each month. I am now 52 and am disabled due to a domestic violence assault that happened July 2006. I have endured 5 spine surgeries and by December 2018 will be scheduled to have another one. My question to you all is how do I know that I will continue receiving disability payments in the future? I worked until 2012 and then my body just really gave out. Please let me know at your convenience. Thank you, Elizabeth Brownell

  21. How does IRS Bulletin 2014-7 apply to FICA taxes?
    My wife is a care provider through a state Medicaid program, for our adult son who is disabled. The agency which handles the program requires she be exempt from FICA yet she received a notice last year requiring a substantial amount be paid to Social Security after we filed our tax returns. I’ve talked with a CPA and they only wished me good luck. Any information would be appreciated.

  22. I need help in getting Social security to stop taking federal taxes out of my check. I call last year January 2018 and they want stop. Please help

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