Ask Larry

Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes

How Can We Determine Whether Or Not We Should File Amended Tax Returns?

Hi. My wife has a peculiar problem. She is an ordained clergy, and is able to claim housing expenses as non-taxable. We have done this for many years never knowing this might affect her SSA payments. We only tumbled to this issue when her pension fund estimated her SSA benefit $500 a month higher than SSA does. We contacted our accountant, and he said we could refile for 2015 and 16, However, we'd have to pay the tax, which is not insubstantial. We are looking for a calculator that will help us decide if it is worth going back and refiling. Suggestions?
Thanks, Dennis

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 07:11

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

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!


Monday, January 22, 2018 - 06:48

Will My Severance Pay Count As Earnings?

I was part of a downsizing exercise with my company in 2016. I received a lump severance and wish to know if this will count towards my minimal substantial earnings for 2017? Taxes were paid on this amount at a rate of 25%. Thank you for your advice.


Hi Linda,

Yes, if your severance pay was paid in 2017 and Social Security taxes were withheld from your payment(s), that amount will show up as 2017 earnings on your Social Security earnings history.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 17:11

How Can I Get Credit For Earnings Missing From My Social Security Record?

dear mr lary ,i am residing outside us .i just started to receive my social security benefit and i noticed on my earning statement there is almost the third of my earning years has a zero earning while i have earning and i payed taxes .i send 2 lettersto social security without answear ,can you help .many thanks for your reply


Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 07:38

How Can I Get The Credits Needed To Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Dear Larry,
I am wrangling with the IRS about certain prior tax years, and my sisters want me to apply for disability. My social security statement says I "do not have enough credits in the right time period" for any SSDI benefits. I have many questions, but have narrowed them to 3:

Friday, October 13, 2017 - 15:55

Is There Any Way To Get Some Of My Zero Earnings Years Off Of My Record?

Admittedly I have lived on the fringe of society partly out of choice and partly out of necessity and as a result have several 0's in my earning years. I have earned enough to qualify for SS retirement benefits though small. Early in my working career I had several jobs which were under the table, some were voluntary but generally it was a mandatory condition in order to work. A couple of the employers simply cheated and never paid the taxes even though my checks showed the deductions.

Monday, September 25, 2017 - 05:19

Can I Voluntarily Pay Social Security Taxes On My Overseas Wages?

Hi I have paid in to social security for 15 years then I took a new job overseas my new employer is 100 percent foreign company I file my taxes ect each year as I should but I notice I'm not paying into my social security as my employer does not provide any option to do so. Do I have the option to pay myself and what's the minimum to pay to keep the window open for me to be eligible for social security disability if needed or retirement when I come of age thanks.


Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 07:01

Will My Brother's Social Security Be Affected If He Fails To File A Tax Return?

My brother did not file his Federal taxes this past year, as he figured he was unemployed the entire year and only made some money from side jobs totaling maybe $4-6,000 for the year. He is 61 years old now and has been unemployed for about 5 years now. However, this is the first year he did not file his taxes. I am wondering, as his dutiful younger brother, if this negligence on his part will effect negatively his ability to claim social security starting at 62 next year. Please advise, thanks.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 08:08

Should I List The Family That I Recently Worked For As My Employer?

I am a 63-year-old woman who was a nanny for a family for several months last year.They paid me in cash, which means they did NOT consider me an employee and did not withhold FICA taxes. When I apply for my Social Security benefits (possibly soon), am I correct in deducing that I cannot list this family as people for whom I have worked? (Questions 19-20 on the Application For Retirement Insurance Benefits, Form SSA-1-BK)


Friday, June 30, 2017 - 08:15
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