Does Social Security take into consideration gross earnings or net earnings?

I am planning on applying for Social Security in March. I will be 62 in May. I currently receive military pension benefits and my wife receives Federal Civil Service pension benefits. I operate a consulting practice as a sole proprietor. I pay self employment taxes every year on the money I earn from the consulting practice.

My question is this: I know that SS will take $1 for every $2 I make over a particular year's earnings limits. I have been told; however, that they do not take into consideration my gross earnings from the consulting practice, but the net that correct?

If that is correct, will a contribution to a self employed pension IRA of sufficient funds to make my net income fall below that particular years earnings limit stop SS from taking money back?

Thank you for any help you can provide.

I cannot answer that question. You really need to ask your accountant how your IRA pension contributions affect your net self-employment. Social Security used to make questionable retirement determinations for individuals who were self-employed like yourself.

If they still made those determinations you would most likely not be able receive a reduced retirement because you are basically working your regular job, not retiring, which does give a self-employed person a benefit that wage earning individuals have to wait until full retirement age for. However, Social Security determined within the last couple of years they will just accept the net self-employment that reports to the IRA.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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