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Level 1

social security and earned income

If I get a job while on SS, how does that affect my taxes?

For example, if I earn $10k from writing, will I have to pay taxes only on the $10k? 

Or will I have to pay on the total of my SS  plus the $10k?

Thank you for doing this!




3 Replies
Level 15

social security and earned income

How old are you?  

There are 2 different things to know about social security. People get them mixed up all the time.


1. Your actual SS checks

If you are over full retirement age your actual ss checks won't be reduced. Otherwise they will actually reduce your payments if you make too much other income in the prior year.  See SS FAQ for working after retirement


2. Income Tax

For any age up to 85% of Social Security becomes taxable when ALL your other income plus 1/2 your social security reaches:

Married Filing Jointly: $32,000

Single or head of household: $25,000

Married Filing Separately: 0


Opus 17
Level 15

social security and earned income

3. If you have earned income after retirement, you still pay social security tax on your wages, even though you are also receiving benefits.  However, your new earnings go into the system and may result in a recalculation that increases your benefit, depending on your prior work history.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
Employee Tax & Finance Expert

social security and earned income

Generally speaking, it works like this. Your total income is subject to INCOME tax and this includes your self-employment income...the $10,000 you mentioned. Your SS income is partially taxable once your income exceeds $25k, based on your total income from all sources.


Additionally, your self-employment NET income is also subject to 15.3% social security tax. Net income is your gross income ($10,000) less your business expenses. So keep track of those business expenses and they will help you reduce your total taxes.

Good luck to you.

Kelly C, CPA


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