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What is earned income?

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

2134. What is earned income?

Earned income is:

  1. Wages paid or constructively paid (as defined in §1302) for services you perform as an employee;

  2. Net earnings from self-employment estimated for a current year on the basis of volume of business, past experience, etc.;

  3. Payments for participating in a sheltered workshop or work activities center program;

  4. Sickness or temporary disability payments received within the first six months of stopping work; and

  5. Royalties you earned in connection with any publication of your work and any honoraria received for your services.

Earned income may be paid in cash or in-kind. If it is in-kind, its full current market value is the amount used to determine your countable income.

Last Revised: March, 2001


Recent Content

Good Article on Social Security Benefits for Divorced People

This is a good article which outlines Social Security benefits for divorced people. The article refers to "divorced women", but it also applies to divorced men (especially if the woman had higher earnings).

Excerpt :

The law says a divorced woman, who was married to her ex-husband for a minimum of 10 years, is due essentially the same benefits as a woman who is currently married to her husband.

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