Nov 1, 2012

What's An "F" Quarter?

     Ordinarily, Social Security's earnings records display a "C" for a covered quarter, that is, a quarter with sufficient earnings for the claimant to be credited with coverage for that quarter, or an "N" for a quarter where the claimant lacks sufficient earnings to be credited with a quarter of coverage. I've just seen an earnings record with a bunch of quarters labeled "F." No dollar figures for earnings are displayed for these years. There are signs that this earnings record was confusing Social Security employees as well and that the quarters were treated as covered quarters.
     These are recent quarters. The claimant says he had an unremarkable job with a hospital in North Carolina. We don't have any state or local government employees in NC who aren't covered by F.I.C.A.
     Can anyone advise me on what these quarters represent?


Somebody Unimportant said...
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Somebody Unimportant said...

GN 01703.110 How to Document Insured Status Decisions

For each year in which there is a U.S. and/or a foreign QC:

Display a U.S. QC as “C.”

Display a foreign QC as “F.”

Display no QC as “N.”

JOA said...

The lack of any associated wage postings is a puzzle. The POMS section cited above, GN 01703.110, is about completing a manual worksheet, not deciphering an earnings record. The POMS sections that give this kind of information are in the “Systems and Methods” section, which for security reasons SSA does not publish. My understanding, however, is that a SEQY or DISCO that shows an “F” is showing wages earned by a federal, state, or local gov’t employee that are subject only to the Medicare part of the FICA tax.

More information is always good. You might ask for a DEQY for the years in question, to get the name of the reporting employer. Could the hospital be one that opted out?

But I have to say that the lack of wage postings is not just a puzzle, it’s a troubling puzzle.

PalmTree said...

JOA is correct. "F" represents federal, state, or local government wages for which FICA was not collected, but Medicare was. These QCs create Medicare Qualified Government Employees.

There are no wages posted because those earnings, as reported to SSA, were not covered by Social Security, and therefore are not figured into the number holder's PIA. The number holder needs to check his/her pay stub to verify that FICA is not being withheld. If it is being withheld, he/she needs to bring W2 forms to SSA and have the record corrected.