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Cash-Pay Tests

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

1303. Cash-Pay Tests

1303.1 When must you meet the cash-pay tests in figuring your wage amount?

In figuring your wage, you must meet the cash-pay tests if you perform any of the following types of work:

  1. Agricultural labor (see §901);

  2. Domestic service in a private home (see §915);

  3. Non-business or casual labor (see §924);

  4. Some services by homeworkers (see §830); or

  5. Tips (see §1329).

1303.2 What cash counts as wages if you meet the cash-pay test?

If you meet the cash-pay test, you must count all cash as your wages. If you are a homeworker ((D) above), count both cash and payments-in-kind. Do not count payments-in-kind as wages if you are a worker described in (A), (B), (C), or (E) above, even you meet the cash-pay test.

1303.3 What cash counts as wages if you do NOT meet the cash-pay test?

If you do not meet the cash-pay test, do not count payment as wages for Social Security purposes, even if it is paid in cash. However, you must count all cash pay (except tips that total less than $20) to the earnings test. (See §1811.)

1303.4 What types of payment are considered cash?

Cash pay for cash-pay tests includes the following:

  1. Cash;

  2. Checks and other monetary forms of exchange;

  3. The income you receive as an employee from the sale of a crop from the farm owner/operator; and

  4. Cash given in place of such items as meals, lodging, car tokens, clothing, etc.

1303.5 What types of payment are NOT considered cash?

Cash pay for cash-pay tests does not include the following:

  1. Payments-in-kind, such as meals and lodging;

  2. A share of crops or animal increase;

  3. Car tokens, clothing, transportation passes, or tickets; and

  4. The furnishing of goods or limited credit made available at a store for the maintenance of you and your family.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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