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FICA Hardship FAQs

What was the Doctors Council FICA Refund Claim?
Who received Doctors Council FICA Refund Claim Checks?
What is the effect of the claim on Social Security benefits?
If I receive Social Security benefits now, will they be affected?
When I apply for Social Security benefits, will my benefit amount be affected materially?
How can I find out if my Social Security benefits will be affected materially?


What was the Doctors Council FICA Refund Claim?
The New York Court of Appeals decided in Doctors Council v. NYCERS, 529 N.Y.S. 2d 732 (Ct. App. 1988), that doctors and dentists employed part-time by the City of New York were eligible to participate in a City pension plan.

In 1992, this decision was modified to include part-time employees of the New York City Boards of Education and Higher Education. Consequently, the Social Security Administration and Internal Revenue Service determined that part-time City employees eligible for pension system membership as a result of the Doctors Council decision were not subject to Social Security taxes for any time between January 1, 1986 and July 1, 1991 (during which they were not able to participate in a City pension plan).

After the Doctors Council decision, the City of New York successfully claimed a refund of FICA taxes paid due to affected individuals' City employment during the aforementioned period.

Learn more about the FICA refunds

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Who received Doctors Council FICA Refund Claim Checks?

The vast majority of employees included in the Doctors Council FICA Refund Claim authorized the City to collect their shares of the claim and forward the proceeds to them. A very few individuals did not.

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What is the effect of the claim on Social Security benefits?
The Social Security earnings records of employees included in the City's Doctors Council FICA Refund Claim will be reduced as a consequence of the success of that claim. This is true for the few individuals who did not authorize the City to collect their shares as well as for those who received refund checks.

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If I receive Social Security benefits now, will they be affected?
No. If you started to receive Social Security benefits prior to November 2003, your present and future benefits will not be affected by the City's Doctors Council FICA Refund Claim.

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When I apply for Social Security benefits, will my benefit amount be affected materially?
Maybe. The future Social Security benefits of the great majority of the employees included in the City's Doctors Council FICA Refund Claim will not be affected materially. However, after their earnings records are modified by SSA, a small number of individuals may find that their Social Security eligibility will be affected as a consequence of the City's FICA Refund Claim.

A very few individuals may not have sufficient earnings credits to be eligible for benefits, or the benefit amounts to which they are entitled may be less than they would have been but for the City's successful claim.

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How can I find out if my Social Security benefits will be affected materially?
Call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 or visit the Administration's Web site to request a Social Security Statement that provides details of your accrued benefits.

Request the Social Security Statement on the Social Security Web site

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