All employees, except most student employees*, are covered by Social Security and Medicare. Social Security and Medicare taxes, sometimes called FICA taxes, are automatically deducted from your wages.

*Student employees: Review the Payroll web page to see if you are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Social Security Taxes

  • Employees pay 6.2% on covered compensation up to $142,800.
  • UW System pays 6.2% on covered compensation up to $142,800.

Medicare Taxes

  • Employees pay 1.45% on covered compensation up to $200,000 and 2.35% on covered compensation in excess of $200,000.
  • UW System pays 1.45% on covered compensation up to $200,000.

What is Social Security?

Social Security is a federal program that provides you (and in some cases your spouse or former spouse) with a monthly retirement benefit at age 62 or later. In addition, you may qualify for disability benefits if you become unable to work before retirement age. If you die prematurely, Social Security provides your dependent children with support until age 18. Your spouse, parents, and disabled children may also be eligible for survivor’s benefits.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides you (and your spouse) with insurance coverage for certain health care costs when you reach age 65. You may qualify for Medicare coverage earlier if you become disabled.


Every effort has been made to ensure this information is current and correct. Information on this page does not guarantee enrollment, benefits and/or the ability to make changes to your benefits.

Updated: 06/22/2021