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Social Security Payroll Tax Deferral

September 11, 2020

This report originally publishes at

A Presidential Memorandum to temporarily defer Social Security Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance tax withholdings was issued on August 8 with following guidance from the Internal Revenue Service on August 28. This tax deferment is designed to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What this means: the Social Security tax, listed on the Leave and Earnings Statement of military personnel and civilian employees, will not be paid to the government for the rest of this year. This applies to military personnel with a monthly rate of basic pay of less than $8,666.66 and civilian employees with wages, subject to OASDI, that are less than $4,000 in any given pay period.

All service members and civilian employees that are subject to this tax deferral must know and plan to repay it. The repayment period is slated to run from January 2021 through April 2021.

The amount of Social Security tax withheld during those months will most likely be double what is normally paid. For example, if last month’s LES stated the payment of $250 in Social Security, then there will be an increase of $250 in the October-December paycheck ($125 for each paycheck).


Then, beginning in January, there would be a decrease in that paycheck of $500 ($250 per paycheck). The $500 accounts for the $250 that would normally be taken out for Social Security and an additional $250 that is being payed back.

The deferment and repayment will be automatic and you cannot opt out. It is highly recommended that all those who are subject to this tax deferment routinely check their LES’s and plan to see lower paychecks from January through April.

For more information on the tax deferral, visit

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