Social Security When You Are Self-Employed

October 18, 2018 • By

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Last Updated: October 18, 2018

man and woman cooking Most people who pay into Social Security work for an employer. Their employer deducts Social Security taxes from their paycheck, matches that contribution, sends taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and reports wages to Social Security. However, self-employed people must report their earnings and pay their Social Security taxes directly to the IRS. These taxes will help determine your eligibility for benefits later.

You’re self-employed if you operate a trade, business, or profession, either by yourself or as a partner. You report your earnings for Social Security purposes when you file your federal income tax return. If your net earnings are $400 or more in a year, you must report your earnings on Schedule SE, in addition to the other tax forms you must file.

Net earnings for Social Security are your gross earnings from your trade or business, minus your allowable business deductions and depreciation. Some income doesn’t count for Social Security and shouldn’t be included in figuring your net earnings.

You can read more about self-employment, paying your Social Security taxes and figuring and reporting your net earnings by reading If You Are Self-Employed.

Social Security has been a cornerstone of American security for over 80 years. As a self-employed person, your small business is another cornerstone in the foundation of our economy. Working together, we make this nation stronger.

We’re here for you, securing today and tomorrow. Remember, the most convenient way to contact us anytime, anywhere is to visit our website.


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Laura W.

    I was denied social protection for his disability due to the fact they claim my wife has 500 dollars each month from being “self employed,” however she’s not working right now and is definitely no longer self employed. How does social safety decide that a person is self employed? We dont even report taxes anymore because im on va disability

  2. Anthony F.

    My son was just denied social security for his disability because they claim my wife has 500 dollars every month from being “self employed,” but she’s not working right now and is definitely not self employed. How does social security determine that someone is self employed? We dont even file taxes anymore because im on va disability… I’m totally confused!

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Anthony, thanks for using our blog. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  3. Sheila

    We are on social security and we are getting an EIN. We will be drawing ss and working as self employed. Will we still need to pay in social security and Medicare and will our payment go up?

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