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Domestic Service in Private Home of Employer

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

915. Domestic Service in Private Home of Employer

915.1 Is domestic service covered by Social Security?

Domestic service in the private home of the employer is covered by Social Security beginning January 1, 1951. However, cash (as defined in §1303) and non-cash remuneration is excluded from wages unless a regularity-of-employment and cash-pay test are met. Prior to 1994, only the cash pay paid to the domestic worker in the calendar quarter by the employer amounting to $50 or more counts for Social Security purposes.

915.2 What is the minimum amount that must be earned for domestic work to be covered by Social Security?

Beginning in 1994, rules for coverage of domestic services performed in the private home changed. The table below shows the minimum amount you must earn for Social Security purposes.

Minimum Cash Pay for Social Security Coverage

Calendar Year

Minimum Cash Pay

1994 - 1997


1998 - 1999




2001 - 2002


2003 - 2004


For calendar years after 1998, the earnings threshold will adjust in multiples of $100 in a given year, as average wages adjust. See SSA's electronic fact sheet on household workers, Publication No. 05-10021 at for the current earnings threshold.

915.3 What if the domestic worker is under age 18?

Beginning in 1995, your services are excluded from Social Security coverage for any portion of a year that you work in a private home while you are under 18 years old. However, your services may be covered by Social Security if the service is your principle occupation.

915.4 How does the cash-pay test apply if the domestic worker has more than one employer?

If you perform domestic services for more than one employer, the cash-pay test applies separately to the cash pay paid by each employer. You cannot combine cash payments for a calendar quarter or a calendar year from various employers.

915.5 How is domestic service on a farm considered for Social Security purposes?

Your domestic service on a farm operated for profit is considered "agricultural labor" for services rendered prior to 1995. The agricultural labor cash-pay test, described in §900, must be met before cash wages paid for your employment can be considered covered for Social Security purposes.

Beginning in 1995, domestic work on a farm operated for profit is no longer treated as agricultural employment. You are subject to a new domestic threshold.

Last Revised: Jun. 30, 2004




Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration