Why Does Social Security Leave Out Teachers in These 15 States?

Social Security provides retirement benefits to more than 47 million retired workers at the end of their careers, as well as provides support to family members of those workers. The vast majority of workers earn benefits by paying into the Social Security system through payroll taxes.

Yet what many people don’t realize is that there are some workers who aren’t part of Social Security. They don’t have to pay Social Security payroll taxes on their earnings during their careers, but they also can’t count on the program to provide retirement benefits. In particular, teachers and other public sector workers in 15 states across the country get left out of Social Security in many cases.

Teacher kneeling on floor working with students at desks.

Image source: Getty Images.

How Social Security works for most people

For most workers, participation in Social Security is almost automatic. Employees pay a 6.2% payroll tax to fund Social Security, which employers match dollar for dollar.

Once you’ve accumulated 40 Social Security credits — which for most workers takes 10 years — you’re entitled to retirement benefits on your own work history. The longer you work in the Social Security system, and the more money you make, the larger your benefits will be.

The public sector exception from Social Security

However, some state government employees, including teachers, don’t pay Social Security payroll taxes and aren’t entitled to retirement benefits from Social Security. The history of this practice dates all the way back to Social Security’s formation, when the law was intended to cover only private employees. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether the federal government could force states to pay payroll taxes. Only in the 1950s did the rules change, allowing states to have the ability to join Social Security.

The majority of states elected to enroll their government workers in Social Security. At that point, those workers started paying payroll taxes, and they earned their retirement benefits in the same way as any other worker.

However, not every state participated. Now teachers in 12 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, and Texas — don’t have coverage arrangements with Social Security. In addition, three other states — Georgia, Kentucky, and Rhode Island — have varying degrees of coverage that differ by school district.

What it means for teachers

Lack of Social Security coverage doesn’t mean that teachers in these states are left completely high and dry. In order to opt out of Social Security, states had to provide pensions that would provide benefits that were at least as good as what Social Security would provide.

However, the big problem that teachers in these states face is when they have some work during their careers that is covered by Social Security. In the 35 states that do participate in Social Security, total work history produces predictable and desirable results that are based on an entire career’s worth of earnings.

By contrast, how Social Security interacts with public sector pensions doesn’t always provide for a clean calculation of total benefits. For some, the Windfall Elimination Provision can take away a portion of Social Security benefits even when workers have otherwise met all the requirements. Others who are eligible for Social Security spousal benefits — because the teacher’s spouse qualifies for retirement benefits — find that the Government Pension Offset can in some cases completely eliminate that potential Social Security payment.

Understand your retirement benefits

If you work as a teacher in one of the states listed above, it’s vital to understand the conditions under which your pension benefits will kick in. That way, you can use those figures to run calculations and determine what impact your pension will have on any Social Security benefits you’re entitled to receive.

The public sector exception to Social Security is easy to overlook. Even though you’ll save the payroll taxes you’d otherwise have to pay to Social Security, some teachers won’t be pleased at the trade-off of having severe limits on any Social Security benefits they’d otherwise get.

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Amazon’s Third Party Needs to Keep Raging

Amazon.com’s business of selling goods for others may be a growing hassle, but the e-commerce giant has strong reasons to stay in the game.

Amazon warned some of its customers on Friday that their email addresses were shared with one of the company’s third-party sellers, in violation of the company’s policies. That came just weeks after The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was investigating some of its own employees for leaking data to third-party sellers in exchange for bribes. Amazon reportedly also has been hit…

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Powerball results for 10/06/18; did anyone win the $262M jackpot?

LANSING, MI – The Powerball jackpot continues to grow as there was no winner of the $262 million jackpot for the drawing on Saturday, Oct. 6.

That means the drawing on Wednesday Oct. 10 will be worth $282 million with a cash option of $161.1 million.

The Powerball Numbers (white) for Oct. 6: 1-22-27-53-67

The Red Powerball Power Number: 15

The Power Play Number: 3

Powerball winners for Oct. 6:

  • While there was no grand prize winner, three tickets sold matched all five white numbers drawn to win $1 million. Those tickets were sold in Florida, Pennsylvania and New York.
  • The player in Pennsylvania also played the Power Play option which increased their winnings to $2 million.
  • Prior to the drawing, the jackpot increased from $253 million to $262 million.
  • In Michigan, one player matched four white balls and the Powerball to win $50,000. That was the largest prize won in the state.
  • Overall, there were 882,663 winners in the drawing who won at least $4 each. In Michigan, there were 28,692 winners.

Powerball is offered in 44 States, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Players select five white numbers from (1 to 69) and one red ball (1 to 26). Tickets cost $2 each.

In other Michigan Lottery news:

  • The next Mega Millions drawing is Tuesday, Oct. 9, with an estimated jackpot of $470 million and cash option of $265 million.
  • The next Lotto 47 drawing is Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7:29 p.m. with a jackpot of $9.6 million. Deadline is 7:08 p.m. that day.
  • Sunday’s Fantasy 5 jackpot is an estimated $110,000. The drawing is at 7:29 p.m. Deadline is 7:08 p.m.

For the latest on Michigan Lottery, check out the official Michigan Lottery site, which also offers more information on instant tickets, raffles and other lottery games.

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Pret a Manger: Second person dies from allergic reaction

The customer died in December 2017 after eating a “super-veg rainbow flatbread” that contained a yogurt that was supposed to be dairy-free.

But after testing by Pret and two independent authorities, it was later found that the ingredient, supplied by yogurt producer Coyo, contained dairy protein. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) was informed and all Coyo products were recalled nationwide.

Pret said in a statement that “their deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of our customer in this terrible case and we will look to help them in any way we can.” The company said it was taking legal action against Coyo.

Coyo denied its product was the cause of the fatal allergic reaction. In a statement posted to its Twitter feed Sunday, the company said “the claims made by Pret are unfounded.”

“The dairy-free product we provided to Pret in December 2017 at the time of this tragedy, is not linked to the product we recalled in February 2018,” it concluded. The company said the cause of death was unknown and still being investigated by coroners.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from an allergic reaction to the sesame seeds in a Pret sandwich.

Ingredient labeling

Pret a Manger has recently been under scrutiny
following the death of a 15-year-old girl who had an allergic reaction to a sandwich containing sesame seeds.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse fell ill on a British Airways flight to Nice, France, after buying an olive tapenade and artichoke baguette from a branch of Pret a Manger at London Heathrow Airport. She died later of anaphylactic shock, a UK medical coroner
ruled last week.

Pret a Manger Chief Executive Clive Schlee said in a statement that the fast-food chain was “deeply sorry” for her death. He said he hoped the food-labeling measures would “set us on course to drive change in the industry so people with allergies are as protected and informed as possible.”

The company will begin a trial of full ingredient labeling from November and in the coming weeks will ensure that “prominent allergen warning stickers are placed on all individual freshly made products” and add additional allergen warning signs in shops, it said in a statement seen by CNN.

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Pumpkin Spice: Love it or leave it

October is here and that can only mean one thing: Pumpkin Spice season is in full bloom! There are two camps of people when it comes to this autumn phenomenon, those who love it and those who don’t. The coffee conglomerate, Starbucks, may be able to take the credit for this crazed movement, as so many years ago they introduced the infamous and limited-edition, seasonal pumpkin spice latte. Every year around the end of August, Starbucks announces when the popular coffee concoction will be available again, and all those on the pumpkin spice train fall in line (literally). 

I must admit, during the first week of September when the pumpkin spice latte was released, I was happily and unabashedly sipping one, riding along in my Suburban pre-Labor Day with temperatures still reaching 100 degrees. This year marks the 15th year Starbucks has had the popular drink on the menu.

Today, so many brands have launched their own pumpkin spice products, far beyond coffee. I read an article recently that said sales for pumpkin-flavored products reached $488.7 million in the past year, which was up 15.5 percent from the previous year, according to the latest Nielsen data! This year’s top pumpkin spice inspired food products include everything from bagels, ice cream and coffee creamer to cereal. I keep a large container of pumpkin spice creamer in my fridge throughout the fall. I embrace everything that is pumpkin spice, however basic pop culture tries to label it. 

It seems no matter what your brand, everyone wants a piece of the pumpkin spice pie. My Aunt posted a photo on Facebook recently of a builders supply store in Griffin Georgia whose outdoor sign read, “Try our new pumpkin spice 2×4’s.” Too funny and what a way to capitalize on such a trending and timely topic. Well played.

Speaking of pumpkin spice pie, I make one every fall, but instead of topping it with regular sweetened whipped cream, I make a buttermilk whipped cream. The buttermilk gives the cream a bit of a tang, and adds a little something extra. Sweet and creamy, the pie itself is mouthwatering served warm or cold. Enjoy a slice with a cup of hot coffee and a good friend. Add this dessert to your Thanksgiving table or autumn baking list and your entire home will beckon the changing leaves.   

Pumpkin Spice Pie with Buttermilk Whipped Cream

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin spice syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) pumpkin pie spice
  • One 9-inch store-bought frozen pie crust 

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin and next eight ingredients. Roll thawed pie crust over 9-inch pie plate, crimping edges with a fork. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 1 hour and 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.

Buttermilk Whipped Cream

(Makes about two cups)

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon good pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

In a large bowl, beat cream with a mixer at high-speed until soft peaks form. Add all remaining ingredients, and beat until stiff peaks form. Plop a big dollop on top of a slice of pie. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy!

Food Network Star finalist Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a food enthusiast and writer. Her blog, Some Kinda Good, features local, in-season recipes with Southern coastal influences. A Georgia Southern University alumna, she also attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. Like Some Kinda Good on Facebook, follow @SKGFoodBlog on Twitter and Instagram or visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.

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