Section 218

Office of the State Social Security Administrator


When the Social Security Act was enacted in 1935, it did not cover states and their political subdivisions. To change this, Congress created Section 218 of the Social Security Act in 1951 to allow states to enter into voluntary agreements with the Social Security Administration for Social Security coverage for state employees. The original State of Texas Section 218 Agreement was signed on November 30, 1951. When Medicare was created in 1966, Medicare coverage also became available under the Agreement.

Since then, thousands of local political subdivisions (cities, counties, housing authorities, hospital districts, school districts, utility districts etc.) have signed agreements with the Office of the State Social Security Administrator to modify the State of Texas Section 218 Agreement for inclusion, thereby extending Social Security and Medicare coverage to the subdivision’s eligible employees.

The Office of the State Social Security Administrator has been based at ERS, a Texas state agency, since 1975. The designated State Social Security Administrator (“State Administrator”) is a position appointed by the Governor.

Modifying the state’s agreement to include a new group of employees from a local political subdivision involves the subdivision conducting a referendum election among the affected employees, which is overseen by the State Administrator. The cost of staffing and administering this program is partially offset by a $35 annual fee, authorized by the Legislature and paid by subdivisions to ERS. As of June 1, 2024, there were 1,620 modifications to the state’s Section 218 agreement covering approximately 2,600 political subdivisions across the state.

Legal Citations for Section 218 Agreements

Other Useful Links

Social Security Administration Resources

Internal Revenue Service

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