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Missionaries and social security

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions & Witnessing' started by Ingo Breuer, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. Ingo Breuer

    Ingo Breuer Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Recently I read something from an American missionary to Germany and he made the statement:

    "As an ordained minister of the gospel you have the option to sign out of the social security system. Note also that this has to be done within a limited time frame after your ordination."

    Has anyone of you heard about this option or knows more about it? I wonder what this brother is going to retire on?

    I am a German currently living and working in Tennessee and will go to the German mission field in the future. For whatever reason might it be good to sign out of social security?
    Thanks for your advice.
  2. Hardsheller

    Hardsheller Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Jun 21, 2002
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    Opting out of Social Security for ministerial income does not mean you can never draw Social Security. What it means is that the income you received from ministry is exempt.

    Bi-Vocational Ministers who pay the maximum through their secular jobs would be good candidates for opting out.

    Ministers who take vows of poverty and are paid retirement by their denomination would be good prospects.
  3. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator

    Jul 4, 2000
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    From my own experience, no don't opt out. The opt out option was set up with the mainline Protestant denominations and the RCC in mind. These groups had ministerial pension plans in place. Many IFBs went along with it as opting out put that much more money in their pockets and their churchs didn't have to make a employer co-pay. There were other theological concerns at the time and I'll let someone else sort those out. However, now that my pastor is getting close to retirement age, he is opting back in and is having to buy his way back in. The payments are not crippleing but he wouldn't have to make them if he had been paying in all along. As a missionary, you won't have the funds for a IRA/401k plan. Nor will you be covered by a pension plan from you mission board. So the only viable alternative is to opt into SSI. Now the question is as you will be located in Germany, do you want to pay into the US version of Social Secuity or the German one?