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Domestic Service Defined

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

916. Domestic Service Defined

916.1 What does "domestic service" mean?

"Domestic service" means work normally performed as an essential part of household duties. Domestic service contributes to the maintenance of the employer's residence or administers to the personal wants and comforts of the employer, other members of the household, and guests.

916.2 What kind of work is included under domestic service?

In general, domestic service includes work performed by:

  • baby sitters

  • butlers

  • caretakers

  • chauffeurs of family automobiles

  • companions

  • cooks

  • footmen

  • furnace men

  • gardeners

  • governesses

  • grooms

  • handymen

  • housekeepers

  • housemen

  • janitors

  • laundresses

  • maids

  • nursemaids

  • seamstresses

  • valets

  • waiters

  • waitresses

  • watchmen

Last Revised: Jun. 30, 2004

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