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What types of income count under the earnings test?

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

1811. What types of income count under the earnings test?

The following types of earnings count for earnings test purposes:

  1. All wages for employment covered by Social Security (see Chapter 13);

  2. All cash pay (even if not considered as "wages" under the cash-pay test explained in §901 and §1303) for:

    1. Agricultural work;

    2. Domestic work in a private home; and

    3. Service not in the course of the employer's trade or business;

  3. All pay, cash and non-cash, for work as a homeworker or for a nonprofit organization whether or not the $100 per year test is met (see §931);

  4. Cash tips that equal or exceed $20 a month (see §1329);

  5. All pay for work not covered by Social Security, if the work is done in the U.S., including pay for:

    1. Family employment;

    2. Work by students, student nurses, interns, newspaper and magazine vendors;

    3. Work for Federal or State or foreign governments or instrumentalities; and

    4. Work covered by the Railroad Retirement Act; and

  6. All net earnings from self-employment.

Last Revised: March, 2001


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