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McCarthy Hosts Press Conference on Clergy Act

Feb 20, 2020
Press Release



Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy held a press conference with local pastors about his recently-introduced bill, the Clergy Act. This bill would offer pastors and other clergy members – many of whom opted out of paying into Social Security in their youth – a two-year “open season” to effectively opt-in to Social Security. McCarthy released the following statement:
“In speaking with pastors throughout our community and faith leaders across the country, it became clear to me that clergy members need more choice and adaptability when it comes to planning for their retirement, including the ability to opt back into Social Security. ­
“The Clergy Act would accomplish two important things. First, it would empower faith leaders to decide what is best for their retirement and provide them a second chance to re-enroll into Social Security. Second, the Clergy Act would allow clergy members who do choose to opt-in to Social Security access to Social Security disability benefits should they ever need them in the future. This legislation is long overdue – faith leaders deserve more freedom and flexibility as they plan for retirement.”


  • Under current law, clergy members are able to obtain an exemption from paying into Social Security, which disqualifies them from receiving any benefits later in life. 
  • In crafting this legislation, McCarthy discovered that a similar opportunity has not been created for clergy members since 1999 through the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act.
  • Now twenty years later, it is time that clergy members once again have the opportunity to opt-in to Social Security if they would like to.