SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home932. Ministers and Members of Religious Orders

932.1 Are services of ministers and members of religious orders covered by Social Security?

Your services as a minister or member of a religious order are covered by Social Security as self-employment if you:

  1. Performed the services after 1967;

  2. Are or were a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church in the exercise of your ministry or by a member of a religious order not under a vow of poverty;

  3. Did not elect to be exempt from Social Security taxation and coverage (see §§1131-1132).

932.2 Can work performed by a minister or member of a religious order, under a vow of poverty, be covered by Social Security?

Your services may be covered by Social Security if the religious order has elected to have services performed by its members covered by Social Security.

932.3 How does a religious order elect to have the work of its members covered by Social Security?

To elect coverage, the order or subdivision of the religious order must file Form SS-16 (Certificate of Election of Coverage) with the Internal Revenue Service for members of religious orders under vow of poverty.

932.4 If services performed by a religious order are covered by Social Security, what do the members' covered wages include?

If are a member of a religious order that is covered by Social Security, your covered wages are the fair market value of any food, lodging, clothing, or other perquisites furnished by the order. Your wages must not be less than $100 a month in order to be covered by Social Security.

Last Revised: Jun. 30, 2004