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Q: How can I tell if my employer is withholding Social Security and Medicare taxes from my paycheck?

Social Security provides benefit payments to supplement the income of retirees, disabled persons, and families in which a spouse or parent dies. Medicare provides health insurance for people aged 65 and over, as well as some people with disabilities.

Generally, employers are required to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from your paycheck in order to pay for these social programs. Employers also are required to match paycheck withholding amounts for Social Security and Medicare. This “match” means your employer pays the same amount you do every pay period for Social Security and Medicare withholding. Taxes withheld from your paycheck may be called “employee withholding” and taxes matched by your employer may be called “company match.”

Social Security Tax 

Social Security tax may be abbreviated on your pay stub as one of the following:

  • FICA – Federal Insurance Contribution Act
  • SS – Social Security
  • SWT Social Security Withholding Tax
  • OASDI Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance

For 2012, the tax rate for employees is 6.2 percent up to maximum taxable earnings of $110,100. Once you reach covered earnings of $110,100, then your payroll department will stop withholding Social Security tax.

Medicare Tax

Medicare tax may be abbreviated on your pay stub as one of the following:

  • HI – Hospital Insurance
  • MWT – Medicare Withholding Tax
  • Med – Medicare

The Medicare tax rate for employees is 1.45 percent of covered income. There are no income limits on Medicare tax, so all covered income is taxable.

Note that while your employer is required to match the taxes you pay for both Social Security and Medicare, your pay stub may or may not show the employer match.

It is easy to see what you have contributed toward Social Security and Medicare simply by looking at your pay stub. However, to actually apply for Social Security benefits can be much more difficult. If you have been denied Social Security disability benefits or have questions about the application process, please contact a Social Security disability attorney at Schmidt Kramer Injury Lawyers. Call us toll-free at (717) 888-8888 to schedule your free consultation today.