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Social Security Administration & 218 Coverage

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  • Overview

The State of Tennessee Old Age and Survivors Insurance Agency (OASI) is responsible for administering the Social Security and Medicare coverage program for state and local (public) government employers throughout the State of Tennessee pursuant to Section 218 of the Social Security Act.

Disclaimer: This site is intended for general informational purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken to be legal advice. If you have any questions regarding the information contained in this overview you are encouraged to contact the State Social Security Administrator. The operators of this webpage are not responsible for the content of any of the sites to which links are provided.

When the Social Security Act (the Act) was passed in 1935, government employees were determined to be excluded from coverage. However, the option to voluntarily join Social Security and Medicare was made available to state and local governments effective January 1, 1951. This option for government entities to voluntarily join in coverage is codified in Section 218 of the Act.

Beginning as early as June, 1, 1951, the State of Tennessee, and several local governments and government instrumentalities, entered into agreements under section 218 of the Act. Since then more and more government entities have joined the agreement and have begun providing Social Security and Medicare Coverage to their employees.

Due to changes in the law, effective March 31, 1986, all new state or local government employees hired (or rehired) after that date are covered for Medicare purposes. In another change, since July 1, 1991, any employees hired by any state or local government entity that does not have a qualifying retirement system, are covered by Social Security. At this point in time, nearly all state and local government employees in Tennessee have Social Security and Medicare coverage. There are some minor exceptions, some of which are noted on this page.

As part of the legal requirements under the Act, the State of Tennessee is required to appoint a State Social Security Administrator.  The duties of the Social Security Administrator include maintenance and administration of the agreement, as well as assisting Tennessee public employers by serving as a facilitator and communication bridge between those employers, the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which are the two principal federal agencies responsible for Social Security and Medicare coverage, benefits, and FICA tax withholding and reporting requirements. If you have questions concerning the coverage of the governmental entity that you work for or represent, please contact the Tennessee State Social Security Administrator.

The State Social Security Administrator is not involved in the payment or calculation of benefits under Social Security or Medicare. For information on benefits issues please consult the following websites or contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778 or your local social security office.

Social Security Administration (main website)
Retirement Benefit Estimator
Local Social Security Office Locator

Contact: Mary Griffin 
Tennessee State Social Security Administrator