Followers of the @IAFFNEWSDESK on Twitter raised a great conversation recently about why most fire fighters aren’t covered by Social Security.

We wanted to address the issue for IAFF members and to continue to stress the importance of why fire fighter pensions must be protected as politicians try to demonize public employees for what they have rightfully earned.

When social security was established in 1935, public employees weren’t included. In the 1950s, state and local governments were given an option to join the system. However, many fire departments were legally barred from electing Social Security coverage until 1994.

Local governments stepped in to create pension systems for fire fighters to help address their retirement needs.

As a result, an estimated 75 percent of all fire fighters are covered by pension plans that are independent of social security.

Let us be clear….  A majority of fire fighters AREN’T enrolled in the social security system and CAN NOT count on that money for retirement.

IAFF members in cities like Central Falls, Rhode Island know how devastating it is for a state to break its promise to employees.

As more labor attacks arise, our members are seeing that more municipalities are willing to break their word.

Medicare coverage became mandatory for public employees hired or rehired after March 31, 1986.

The IAFF is opposed to mandatory social security coverage because it would jeopardize the specialized retirement systems for fire fighters.

The IAFF will continue to work with congressional leaders to preserve independent retirement systems outside of the Social Security system.

There is no worse injustice for a fire fighter who has worked his or her entire life to pay into a pension system for retirement and have it be threatened by greedy politicians.

If you want information on how well your state’s pension system is doing visit the IAFF’s Fighting Back website for factsheets and other resources.