SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home1126. Public Office Holders

1126.1 Are public office functions a trade or business?

The performance of functions of a public office is excluded by the Social Security law from the term “trade or business.” A “public office” includes any elective or appointive office of the Federal Government, of a State or its political subdivisions, or of a wholly-owned instrumentality.

1126.2 What public offices are covered by this exclusion?

Public offices not considered a trade or business include, among many others, the President, the Vice President, members of the President's Cabinet, governors, mayors, members of Congress, State representatives, county commissioners, judges, county or city attorneys, marshals, sheriffs, registrars of deeds, and notaries public.

1126.3 Are earnings from other activities covered as Social Security earnings?

If a public official engages in an activity that is not part of the function of the public office, the income from that activity may be covered.

1126.4 When is a public official covered as an employee of a State or local government?

A public official may be covered as an employee of a State or local government under the conditions set out in Chapter 10

1126.5 What public officials are covered as employees of the Federal government?

The President, the Vice President, members of the President's Cabinet, and members of Congress, among others, are covered as employees of the Federal Government effective January 1, 1984. (See §940.)