Social Security for Employers

Overview of Section 218 Agreements

Social Security coverage is available to employees of state agencies, local government entities, and other political entities or instrumentalities (such as Charter Schools or Soil & Water Conservation Districts) through unique, voluntary Federal—State Agreements authorized by Section 218 of the Social Security Act, hence the identification as "Section 218 Agreements." Employees covered by a Section 218 Agreement have the same coverage and benefit rights as employees mandatorily covered for Social Security.

Section 218 Agreements cover employee positions, not individual employees. This may be easier to understand by keeping in mind that if an employee position is covered, then any employee occupying that position is covered. It follows that an employee in a covered position is then subject to Social Security taxes, commonly known as FICA deductions.

Employees are brought under a Section 218 Agreement in one of two coverage groups:

  • Absolute coverage group: Employees whose positions ARE NOT covered by a public retirement system
  • Retirement system coverage group: Employees whose positions ARE covered by a public retirement system, such as PERA or NMERB

The process to get a Section 218 Agreement in place in New Mexico is through a referendum (election) process, and can be either a Majority Vote Referendum or a Divided Vote Referendum, please contact PERA for additional information. Following the referendum, the State Social Security Administrator prepares a Section 218 Modification which is a modification to the state's original Section 218 Agreement.

Guidance For Section 218 Referendums

PERA is designated as the liaison between state and local government employers, the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service to address Social Security and Medicare coverage issues.

The Social Security Section 218 Administrator for the State of New Mexico is Christina Gauthier and she can provide information packets with step-by-step guidance on the Section 218 Agreement process as well as answer any questions you may have.

Christina Gauthier
Social Security Section 218 Administrator for the State of NM/PERA
6300 Jefferson St. NE STE#100
Albuquerque, NM 87110