When you have wages or self-employment income that is covered by Social Security, you pay Social Security taxes each year up to a maximum amount that is set by law. That amount has changed frequently over the years.

For 2014, the maximum amount of taxable earnings was $117,000. In 2015, the maximum amount of taxable earnings is $118,500.

The maximum earnings for each year since Social Security taxes were first collected in 1937 are shown below. If you:

  • earned more than the maximum in any year but had only one job, the amount we use will be just the maximum amount.

  • had more than one job, the total that is recorded may be more than the maximum. However, we only use the maximum amount to calculate your benefit estimates.

    Note: When you have more than one job in a year, each of your employers must withhold Social Security taxes from your wages without regard to what the other employers may have withheld. You may then end up with total Social Security taxes withheld that exceed the maximum.

    Example: In 2013 you worked at company A and earned $60,000 before you switched employers. At company B, you earned $55,000.

    Social Security taxes would be withheld from the $115,000 you earned in 2013, but the maximum taxable earnings for the year are only $113,700.

    You claimed a refund of the Social Security taxes withheld from the last $1,300 in earnings when you filed your 2013 personal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service.

Maximum Taxable Earnings Each Year
1937 - 50 $3,000 1982 $32,400 1998 $68,400 2014 $117,000
1951 - 54  3,600 1983  35,700 1999  72,600 2015  118,500
1955 - 58  4,200 1984  37,800 2000  76,200    
1959 - 65  4,800 1985  39,600 2001  80,400    
1966 - 67  6,600 1986  42,000 2002  84,900    
1968 - 71  7,800 1987  43,800 2003  87,000    
1972  9,000 1988  45,000 2004  87,900    
1973 10,800 1989  48,000 2005  90,000    
1974 13,200 1990  51,300 2006  94,200    
1975 14,100 1991  53,400 2007  97,500    
1976 15,300 1992  55,500 2008 102,000    
1977 16,500 1993  57,600 2009 106,800    
1978 17,700 1994  60,600 2010 106,800    
1979 22,900 1995  61,200 2011 106,800    
1980 25,900 1996  62,700 2012 110,100    
1981 29,700 1997  65,400 2013 113,700