Why Does Rachel Ask, “Who’s FICA” When She Receives Her Pay Check?

Meaning and Explanation of FICA

Anyone who earns income in the United States will have to pay a portion of that income to the United States government. One of the ways this happens is through FICA. You see, the employer sets the amount of payment for an employee, and then tax deductions happen only at the time of payment. This results in a pay check amount that’s lower than the simple estimation you might do in your head. So, the first time you receive a pay check, you might be surprised by this and ask the same thing Rachel asks, “Who’s FICA?”.

FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. All employees in the United States will have to contribute part of their pay cheque to the United States government, by way of FICA. This money is then used for social services such as Medicare, and Social Security. Social security includes payments to people with disabilities, or people who have retired from work). 

Examples of “FICA” in TV and Movies

  • ‘Friends’ – Season 1, Episode 4 – ‘The One With George Stephanopoulos’


    RACHEL: God, isn’t this exciting? I earned this. I wiped tables for it, I steamed milk for it, and it was totally… not worth it. Who’s FICA? Why’s he getting all my money? I mean, what- Chandler, look at that.



    RACHEL: They wanna know if I’m okay. Okay.. they wanna know if I’m okay, okay, let’s see. Well, let’s see, the FICA guys took all my money, everyone I know is either getting married, or getting promoted, or getting pregnant, and I’m getting coffee! 


Video Explanation

Rachel Asks: Who's FICA? (FRIENDS English Lesson)
English Lesson (Video)

Why Is This Funny?

When Rachel says “Who’s FICA?” and “the FICA guys took all my money”, she’s acting as though FICA is a person or an organization. But, in fact FICA is an Act – a piece of government legislation – that determines the amount of money that will be deducted from a citizen’s income.


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