Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reader's Letter about Social Security Repeats Common Myth

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reader's Letter about Social Security Repeats Common Myth

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Clark, Times-Union Reader Advocate

The Times-Union gives letter writers a lot of latitude.

Editor's notes aren't used, for instance. And this column does not deal with the opinions of letter writers.

But what happens when a letter writer gets a basic fact wrong?

Last Tuesday, a letter writer repeated what the Social Security Administration calls a common myth: that U.S. representatives and senators don't pay into Social Security. That used to be the case.

Quoting Social Security: "All federal employees -- including the president, vice president, members of Congress, federal judges and all civil servants, hired after Dec. 31, 1983 -- pay into Social Security. The law changed starting in 1984 to require all new federal government employees to pay into Social Security. Existing employees hired prior to 1984, were given a choice to switch to Social Security or stay in their old retirement system. Many switched, and some did not. So there are still some federal employees, and a few members of Congress who first entered Congress prior to 1984, who do not pay into the Social Security system. But the majority of federal employees and most members of Congress pay into Social Security like everyone else."

In fact, all three U.S. representatives in the Jacksonville area (Corrine Brown, Ander Crenshaw and Cliff Stearns) and Florida's two U.S. senators (Bob Graham and Bill Nelson) were elected after 1984.

By the way, the letter writer said that elected officials in Washington, D.C., receive exorbitant retirement benefits, which is not being contended here.

Readers are full of ideas

-- Many readers, for over a year, have asked that the Times-Union add the WE network, formerly the Romance Channel, to the TV magazine. Since this network often shows classic movies, it's popular. I agree that it should be added, but that would require dropping something. …

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