NewsCovering Kern County


Congressman McCarthy hosts press conference to discuss Clergy Act

Posted at 1:36 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 16:36:16-05

Congressman Kevin McCarthy met with local pastors Thursday to discuss his recently-introduced bill, the Clergy Act.

The bill would offer pastors and other clergy members – many of whom opted out of paying into Social Security in their youth – a two-year “open season” to effectively opt-in to Social Security.


“In speaking with pastors throughout our community and faith leaders across the country, it became clear to me that clergy members need more choice and adaptability when it comes to planning for their retirement, including the ability to opt back into Social Security. ­

“The Clergy Act would accomplish two important things. First, it would empower faith leaders to decide what is best for their retirement and provide them a second chance to re-enroll into Social Security. Second, the Clergy Act would allow clergy members who do choose to opt-in to Social Security access to Social Security disability benefits should they ever need them in the future. This legislation is long overdue – faith leaders deserve more freedom and flexibility as they plan for retirement.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy


  • Under current law, clergy members are able to obtain an exemption from paying into Social Security, which disqualifies them from receiving any benefits later in life.
  • In crafting this legislation, McCarthy discovered that a similar opportunity has not been created for clergy members since 1999 through the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act.
  • Now twenty years later, it is time that clergy members once again have the opportunity to opt-in to Social Security if they would like to.