SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home2134. What is earned income?

Earned income is:

  1. Wages paid or constructively paid (as defined in §1302) for services you perform as an employee;

  2. Military pay and allowances except for on-base and privatized military housing and combat-related pay (i.e., hostile fire and imminent danger pay);

  3. Net earnings from self-employment estimated for a current year on the basis of volume of business, past experience, etc.;

  4. Payments for participating in a sheltered workshop or work activities center program;

  5. Sickness or temporary disability payments received within the first six months of stopping work; and

  6. Royalties you earned in connection with any publication of your work and any honoraria received for your services.

Earned income may be paid in cash or in-kind. If it is in-kind, its full current market value is the amount used to determine your countable income.

Last Revised: Apr. 12, 2010