Can The Rental Income That We Get From Renting Our House Be Used To Earn Social Security Credits?

Jan 22 2018 - 6:48am

I am planning to wait until age 70 to claim my social security benefits. My wife worked outside the home for a time before we started our family, but has not worked for a paycheck in many years. It turns out she's 3 credits short of the 40 required for her own benefit. We're planning to move and offer our current house for rent soon--is it possible to use that business in some way for her to get her 3 remaining credits? Thanks!


Probably not. Rental income is almost always considered as unearned income and is therefore not subject to Social Security taxes. Rental income is only considered as earned when a) rentals are received by real estate dealers in the course of their business, b) the landlord regularly performs services for tenants as in the case of innkeepers, or c) farmers are materially participating in their tenants farming operation. It doesn't sound like any of these exceptions would apply in your wife's case.

Best, Jerry