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

What types of income count under the earnings test?

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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