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Social Security Coverage for the Self-Employed

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

1100. Social Security Coverage for the Self-Employed

1100.1 When did Social Security coverage begin for self-employed people?

Most self-employed people became covered by Social Security in 1951.

1100.2 What are the exceptions?

  1. Farmers, ministers, and some other individuals (including certain professionals) were not covered until 1955;

  2. Additional groups of professionals were covered for taxable years ending after 1955; and

  3. Self-employed doctors of medicine were covered for taxable years ending on or after December 31, 1965.

    Note: See §1122 for a detailed list of activities excluded from self-employment coverage.

1100.3 How is self-employment income calculated?

"Self-employment income" that is creditable for Social Security is based on "net earnings from self-employment" derived from a "trade or business" covered by the law.

Payment from self-employment that is not covered under Social Security is included when figuring income for earnings test purposes. (See Chapter 18)

Last Revised: Jun. 23, 2005

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