Social Security Administration decision may threaten Missouri school workers' benefits

WASHINGTON | A new decision from the Social Security Administration could jeopardize retirement benefits for thousands of Missouri public school employees.

The federal agency says too many school employees have been exempt from paying Social Security taxes. Those workers are covered by the Public School Retirement System, considered more generous than Social Security.

But federal officials now say that only teachers, principals and a handful of other positions can be exempt from paying into Social Security.

The new interpretation could reduce benefits for more than 10,000 employees, including guidance counselors, instructional aides and transportation workers.

Missouri Sen. Kit Bond says the change will cause "dire hardship" on Missouri school districts and affect their ability to recruit qualified employees. He is seeking an explanation for the change.