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. Michael W.

    I am self-employed and 69 years old, at age 65 I stopped paying into Social Security because of some bad information that I received. What I would like to know is what benefits I can receive, if I can pay in to make up for the time period that I did not pay, In general I’m trying to find out what the consequences are for me not paying during the last four years and if I have any remedy to catch up and eliminate the potentially bad situation this could cause.
    Thank You

  2. teri

    i am cleaning a drs office and its considered self employed. how do i know and how do i pay social security

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Teri. For any income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040 or you can visit their website at Thanks!

  3. Gary A.

    i have worked for ihss for 13 years , last year i filled out a foam that make us except from tax, that are wages are not counted i have done my tax every year, are my wage counted with ssi, in april thay cut my wifes check down to 44 dollars thay said it was becase my son turned 18 now thay say becase we are married and i make to mush money we are just get by, let me now if thats right.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Gary. Unfortunately, your question is a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. For your security, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue. We do ask that members in our Blog community contact our offices with questions about their specific case. You can call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day. Or you can also contact your local office. Thanks!

  4. leighann c.

    Me and my son’s father were together for eight years unmarried my son is 6 years old now 2 weeks ago my boyfriend his father passed away is my child eligible for any benefits?

    • Vonda V.

      We are very sorry for your loss, Leighann. The child may be eligible for survivor benefits if the child’s father earned enough Social Security credits through his work. Unmarried children who are under 18 (up to age 19 if attending elementary or secondary school full time) can be eligible to receive Social Security benefits when a parent dies.

      To inquire about potential benefits, you will have to contact your local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  5. Crystal S.

    I was denied my back pay, because my ex boyfriend was mad and talked to social security on phone told that he gave me more money than he did. No proof just his word over phone. No documentation. He said he didnt know it was going to affect my money, he just guessed and threw out a number. Is there anything i can do?

    • Ray F.

      Hello Crystal. Unfortunately, but for security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please continue working with your local office. If you are unable to visit the local office, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks.

  6. Chris

    I received my benefit 2 years after my divorce is my x Husband Entitled to half my benefit.

  7. Paula C.

    What date are the 2019 Benefit Award letters going to be mailed out. Thank you

  8. Robert R.

    It’s been 4 months since we were up to social security to have our taxes stopped being taken out. so far nothing.

    • Vonda V.

      Thank you for contacting us, Robert. Sorry to hear about the difficulties you are experiencing with stopping your federal tax withholding. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot assist you.

      Please continue working with your local office. You can request to speak with the manager to see how we can help to expedite resolution of your situation.

  9. James D.

    I am coming up on 24 months of disability and I do not have my Medicare card and my expensive as all get out cobra is going to expire. Do the automatically send it or do I have to go apply?

    • Ray F.

      Hello James. You will receive Medicare after you receive disability benefits for 24 months. We start counting the 24 months from the month you were entitled to receive disability, not the month when you received your first check.
      Medicare will automatically mail your card to the address you have on file with Social Security. As long as your address is up to date, there’s nothing you need to do.
      For further assistance, call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  10. Parijatak A.

    Nice information and thanks for sharing your blog. I Have carefully read your information and I got a lot of information about your blog which is based on the subject of “Social Security when you are self-employed”.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you! Your thoughts are important to us and we’re pleased when feedback is positive. Your satisfaction is our reward.

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