Annual Statistical Supplement, 2010

 

Program Provisions and SSA Administrative Data

Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance

Effect of Current Earnings and Taxation of Benefits

Table 2.A29 Earnings (retirement) test for years through 1999, by year enacted
Year
enacted
Effective
year
Beneficiaries
exempt
Earnings
subject
to test
Amount permitted
without reduction
in benefits
(exempt amount)
Reduction in monthly benefit a
Annual
earnings
(dollars)
Monthly
wages b
(dollars)
For all beneficiaries
1935 . . . . . . Covered . . . . . . Full monthly benefit
1939 1940 . . . . . . . . . 14.99 . . .
1950 1951 Aged 75 or older . . . 600 c 50.00 . . .
1952 1953 . . . . . . 900 c 75.00 . . .
1954 1955 Aged 72 or older All d 1,200 80.00 One month's full benefit for each $80.00 or fraction thereof
1956 1958 Disabled . . . . . . . . . . . .
1958 1959 . . . . . . . . . 100.00 . . .
1960 1961 . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 for each $2 of earnings from $1,201–$1,500
$1 for each $1 of earnings above $1,500
1961 1962 . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 for each $2 of earnings from $1,201–$1,700
$1 for each $1 of earnings above $1,700
1965 1966 . . . . . . 1,500 125.00 $1 for each $2 of earnings from $1,501–$2,700
$1 for each $1 of earnings above $2,700
1967 1968 . . . . . . 1,680 140.00 $1 for each $2 of earnings from $1,681–$2,880
$1 for each $1 of earnings above $2,880
1972 1973 . . . Up to age 72 2,100 175.00 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $2,100
1973 1974 . . . . . . 2,400 200.00 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $2,400
1975 2,520 e 210.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $2,520
1976 2,760 e 230.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $2,760
1977 3,000 e 250.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $3,000
For beneficiaries who have not reached full retirement age f
1977 1978 . . . . . . 3,240 e 270.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $3,240
1979 3,480 e 290.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $3,480
1980 3,720 e 310.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $3,720
1981 4,080 e 340.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $4,080
1982 4,440 e 370.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $4,440
1983 4,920 e 410.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $4,920
1984 5,160 e 430.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $5,160
1985 5,400 e 450.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $5,400
1986 5,760 e 480.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $5,760
1987 6,000 e 500.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $6,000
1988 6,120 e 510.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $6,120
1989 6,480 e 540.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $6,480
1990 6,840 e 570.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $6,840
1991 7,080 e 590.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $7,080
1992 7,440 e 620.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $7,440
1993 7,680 e 640.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $7,680
1994 8,040 e 670.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $8,040
1995 8,160 e 680.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $8,160
1996 8,280 e 690.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $8,280
1997 8,640 e 720.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $8,640
1998 9,120 e 760.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $9,120
1999 9,600 e 800.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $9,600
For beneficiaries who have reached full retirement age f
1977 1978 . . . . . . 4,000 g 333.33 g $1 for each $2 of earnings above $4,000
1979 4,500 g 375.00 g $1 for each $2 of earnings above $4,500
1980 5,000 g 416.66 g $1 for each $2 of earnings above $5,000
1981 5,500 g 458.33 g $1 for each $2 of earnings above $5,500
1982 6,000 g 500.00 g $1 for each $2 of earnings above $6,000
1981 1983 Aged 70 or older Up to age 70 . . . . . . . . .
1983 6,600 e 550.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $6,600
1984 6,960 e 580.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $6,960
1985 7,320 e 610.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $7,320
1986 7,800 e 650.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $7,800
1987 8,160 e 680.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $8,160
1988 8,400 e 700.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $8,400
1989 8,880 e 740.00 e $1 for each $2 of earnings above $8,880
1983 1990 . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 for each $3 of earnings above exempt amount
1990 9,360 e 780.00 e $1 for each $3 of earnings above $9,360
1991 9,720 e 810.00 e $1 for each $3 of earnings above $9,720
1992 10,200 e 850.00 e $1 for each $3 of earnings above $10,200
1993 10,560 e 880.00 e $1 for each $3 of earnings above $10,560
1994 11,160 e 930.00 e $1 for each $3 of earnings above $11,160
1995 11,280 e 940.00 e $1 for each $3 of earnings above $11,280
1996 1996 . . . . . . 12,500 1,041.67 h $1 for each $3 of earnings above $12,500
1997 13,500 1,125.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $13,500
1998 14,500 1,208.33 i $1 for each $3 of earnings above $14,500
1999 15,500 1,291.67 j $1 for each $3 of earnings above $15,500
2000 2000 . . . Earnings test eliminated at full retirement age k . . . . . . . . .
SOURCES: Social Security Act of 1935 (the Act), as amended through December 31, 2009; regulations issued under the Act; and precedential case decisions (rulings). Specific laws, regulations, rulings, legislation, and a link to the Federal Register can be found at the Social Security Program Rules page (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/regulations/index.htm).
NOTE: . . . = not applicable.
a. Earnings of a retired-worker beneficiary affect total monthly family benefit. Earnings of a dependent or survivor beneficiary affect only his or her benefit. However, effective January 1985, earnings of a retired-worker beneficiary do not affect the benefit to a divorced spouse who has been divorced at least 2 years. Effective for benefits after December 1990, the 2-year requirement is waived if the worker was entitled to benefits before the divorce.
b. Monthly test for self-employment income is defined in terms of substantial services. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 1977, monthly test eliminated for wage and self-employment income except that each individual may use a monthly test for 1 grace year, usually the year of retirement.
c. Applied to self-employment income only.
d. Special provisions for earnings in noncovered employment outside the United States.
e. Became effective because of automatic adjustment provisions mandated by legislation in 1972 and 1973.
f. Full retirement age (FRA) is 65 for beneficiaries who attain age 62 (age 60 for widow(er)s) before 2000, gradually increasing to age 67 for beneficiaries who attain age 62 in 2022 or later.
g. Discretionary increase included in legislation of 1977.
h. Actual amount is $1,041.66 2/3.
i. Actual amount is $1,208.33 1/3.
j. Actual amount is $1,291.66 2/3.
k. Public Law (P.L.106-182, enacted April 7, 2000, eliminated the earnings test beginning with the month a beneficiary reaches FRA. The annual earnings test that applies in the year of attainment of FRA is based on the annual limits established under P.L. 104-121 (including the $1 for $3 withholding rate). In determining annual earnings for purposes of the annual earnings test under this legislation, only earnings before the month of attainment of FRA will be considered. P.L. 106-182 did not change the annual exempt amount for beneficiaries who are under FRA throughout the year, which continues to be pegged to increases in the average wage.
CONTACT: Alberta Presberry (410) 966-8473 or supplement@ssa.gov.
Table 2.A29.1 Earnings (retirement) test for 2000–2010, by year enacted
Year
enacted
Effective
year
Beneficiaries
exempt
Earnings
subject
to test
Amount permitted
without reduction
in benefits
(exempt amount)
Reduction in monthly benefit a
Annual
earnings b
(dollars)
Monthly
wages c
(dollars)
For beneficiaries who have reached full retirement age d
2000 2000 . . . The earnings test no longer applies effective with the month of attainment of full retirement age. . . . . . . . . .
For beneficiaries who will not reach full retirement age during year d
2000 2000 . . . . . . 10,080 840 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $10,080
2001 10,680 890 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $10,680
2002 11,280 940 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $11,280
2003 11,520 960 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $11,520
2004 11,640 970 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $11,640
2005 12,000 1,000 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $12,000
2006 12,480 1,040 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $12,480
2007 12,960 1,080 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $12,960
2008 13,560 1,130 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $13,560
2009 14,160 1,180 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $14,160
2010 14,160 1,180 $1 for each $2 of earnings above $14,160
For beneficiaries who will reach full retirement age during year d
2000 2000 . . . . . . 17,000 1,416.67 e $1 for each $3 of earnings above $17,000
2001 25,000 2,083.33 f $1 for each $3 of earnings above $25,000
2002 30,000 2,500.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $30,000
2003 30,720 2,560.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $30,720
2004 31,080 2,590.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $31,080
2005 31,800 2,650.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $31,800
2006 33,240 2,770.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $33,240
2007 34,440 2,870.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $34,440
2008 36,120 3,010.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $36,120
2009 37,680 3,140.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $37,680
2010 37,680 3,140.00 $1 for each $3 of earnings above $37,680
SOURCES: Social Security Act of 1935 (the Act), as amended through December 31, 2009; regulations issued under the Act; and precedential case decisions (rulings). Specific laws, regulations, rulings, legislation, and a link to the Federal Register can be found at the Social Security Program Rules page (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/regulations/index.htm). Social Security Administration, "Cost-of-Living Increase and Other Determinations for 2010," Federal Register, vol. 74, no. 207 (October 28, 2009).
NOTES: Public Law (P.L.106-182, enacted April 7, 2000, eliminated the earnings test beginning with the month a beneficiary reaches full retirement age (FRA). The annual earnings test that applies in the year of attainment of FRA is based on the annual limits established under P.L. 104-121 (including the $1 for $3 withholding rate). In determining annual earnings for purposes of the annual earnings test under this legislation, only earnings before the month of attainment of FRA will be considered. P.L. 106-182 did not change the annual exempt amount for beneficiaries who are under FRA throughout the year, which continues to be pegged to increases in the average wage.
. . . = not applicable.
a. Earnings of a retired-worker beneficiary affect total monthly family benefit. Earnings of a dependent or survivor beneficiary affect only his or her benefit. However, earnings of a retired-worker beneficiary do not affect the benefit to a divorced spouse who has been divorced at least 2 years. The 2-year requirement is waived if the worker was entitled to benefits before the divorce.
b. Automatic adjustment provisions and legislative history of the earnings test are in Table 2.A18.
c. Monthly test for self-employment income is defined in terms of substantial services. Each individual may use a monthly test for 1 grace year, usually the year of retirement.
d. Full retirement age is 65 for beneficiaries who attain age 62 (age 60 for widow(er)s) before 2000, gradually increasing to age 67 for beneficiaries who attain age 62 in 2022 or later. See Table 2.A17.1 for the FRA by year of birth.
e. Actual amount is $1,416.66 2/3.
f. Actual amount is $2,083.33 1/3.
CONTACT: Alberta Presberry (410) 966-8473 or supplement@ssa.gov.
Table 2.A30 Monthly earnings guidelines for substantial gainful activity, 1961–2010 (in dollars)
Year Nonblind beneficiaries a Blind
beneficiaries b
Minimum Maximum
1961–1965 50 100 c
1966–June 1968 75 125 c
July 1968–1973 90 140 c
1974–1975 130 200 c
1976 150 230 c
1977 160 240 c
1978 170 260 334
1979 180 280 375
1980 190 300 417
1981 190 300 459
1982 190 300 500
1983–1989 190 300 d
1990 300 500 780
1991 300 500 810
1992 300 500 850
1993 300 500 880
1994 300 500 930
1995 300 500 940
1996 300 500 960
1997 300 500 1,000
1998 300 500 1,050
January–June 1999 300 500 1,110
July 1999 300 700 1,110
January 2000 300 700 1,170
January 2001 Discontinued 740 1,240
January 2002 . . . 780 1,300
January 2003 . . . 800 1,330
January 2004 . . . 810 1,350
January 2005 . . . 830 1,380
January 2006 . . . 860 1,450
January 2007 . . . 900 1,500
January 2008 . . . 940 1,570
January 2009 . . . 980 1,640
January 2010 . . . 1,000 1,640
SOURCES: Social Security Act of 1935 (the Act), as amended through December 31, 2009; regulations issued under the Act; and precedential case decisions (rulings). Specific laws, regulations, rulings, legislation, and a link to the Federal Register can be found at the Social Security Program Rules page (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/regulations/index.htm). Social Security Administration, "Cost-of-Living Increase and Other Determinations for 2010," Federal Register, vol. 74, no. 207 (October 28, 2009).
NOTES: Earnings are net of any wage subsidies and impairment-related expenses.
The guidelines for substantial gainful activity (SGA) for self-employed individuals differ from the guidelines for wage earners.
Self-employment activity is generally examined in terms of time spent and degree of effort, as compared with that of nondisabled self-employed individuals.
. . . = not applicable.
a. Earnings above the maximum amount ordinarily demonstrate SGA; earnings below the minimum amount show that SGA has not occurred. When earnings are between the minimum and maximum, other factors are considered.
b. The amendments in 1977 provided that, effective 1978, earnings of blind beneficiaries would be evaluated under different SGA guidelines from those of nonblind beneficiaries.
c. Pre-1978 guidelines are the same as those for nonblind beneficiaries.
d. Annual amounts were determined by automatic adjustments linked to increases in average wage level. The amounts equal the monthly exempt amounts under the earnings test applicable to beneficiaries who have reached full retirement age (see Table 2.A29 for the amounts for 1983–1995).
CONTACT: Alberta Presberry (410) 966-8473 or supplement@ssa.gov.
Table 2.A31 Taxation of Social Security benefits
Year enacted Individuals or couples with income exceeding (dollars)— Benefits included in gross income Effective for taxable years—
Married filing jointly
1983 32,000 Lesser of one-half of Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits or one-half of income over $32,000 Ending after December 31, 1983
1993 32,000 but not 44,000 Lesser of one-half of Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits or one-half of income over $32,000 Beginning after December 31, 1993
44,000 Lesser of 85 percent of Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits or the sum of $6,000 plus 85 percent of income over $44,000 Beginning after December 31, 1993
Married filing separate returns a
1983 0 Lesser of one-half of Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits or one-half of income Ending after December 31, 1983
1993 0 Lesser of 85 percent of Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits or 85 percent of income Beginning after December 31, 1993
Individuals in all other filing categories
1983 25,000 Lesser of one-half of Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits or one-half of income over $25,000 Ending after December 31, 1983
1993 25,000 but not 34,000 Lesser of one-half of Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits or one-half of income over $25,000 Beginning after December 31, 1993
34,000 Lesser of 85 percent of Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits or the sum of $4,500 plus 85 percent of income over $34,000 Beginning after December 31, 1993
SOURCES: Social Security Act of 1935 (the Act), as amended through December 31, 2009; regulations issued under the Act; and precedential case decisions (rulings). Specific laws, regulations, rulings, legislation, and a link to the Federal Register can be found at the Social Security Program Rules page (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/regulations/index.htm). Taxation of Social Security benefits is governed by the Internal Revenue Service Code. IRS describes the rules governing taxation of Social Security benefits in IRS publication 915, available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p915.pdf.
NOTES: Income is defined as modified adjusted gross income, plus 50 percent of Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits. Modified adjusted gross income is adjusted gross income (before Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits are considered), plus tax-exempt interest income, with further modification of adjusted gross income in some cases involving certain tax provisions of limited applicability among the beneficiary population.
Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits include workers' compensation benefits to the extent they cause a reduction in Social Security or Tier 1 Railroad Retirement disability benefits.
a. Includes only married taxpayers filing separately who lived with their spouse at any time during the tax year; married individuals filing separately who did not live with their spouse are treated the same as unmarried individuals.
CONTACT: Alberta Presberry (410) 966-8473 or supplement@ssa.gov.
Table 2.A32 Taxation of Social Security benefits: Examples (in dollars)
Modified adjusted gross income a Amount of
benefits b
One-half of
benefits b
Income
to be
compared
with base
amount
Relevant
base
amount c
Income
in excess
of base
amount
One-half
of excess
85 percent
of excess
income
Lower of
one-half
of benefits,
or one-half
of income
between
upper and
lower base
amounts
85 percent
of benefits
Taxable benefits included
in gross income
If income
does not
exceed
upper base
amount—
lesser
of one-half
of benefits
or one-half
of income
over base
amount
If income
exceeds
upper base
amount—
lesser of
85 percent
of benefits
or one-half
of income
between base
amounts plus
85 percent
of income
over upper
base amount
(A) (B) (C) (D = A + C) (E) (F = D - E) (G = F ÷ 2) (H = .85 × F) (I) (J = .85 × B) (K = lesser of
C or G)
(L = lesser of
J or I + H)
Married filing jointly
25,000 10,000 5,000 30,000 32,000 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
28,000 10,000 5,000 33,000 32,000 1,000 500 . . . . . . . . . 500 . . .
33,000 10,000 5,000 38,000 32,000 6,000 3,000 . . . . . . . . . 3,000 . . .
38,000 10,000 5,000 43,000 32,000 11,000 5,500 . . . . . . . . . 5,000 . . .
40,000 10,000 5,000 45,000 44,000 1,000 . . . 850 5,000 8,500 . . . 5,850
43,000 10,000 5,000 48,000 44,000 4,000 . . . 3,400 5,000 8,500 . . . 8,400
45,000 10,000 5,000 50,000 44,000 6,000 . . . 5,100 5,000 8,500 . . . 8,500
Married filing separate returns d
0 6,000 3,000 3,000 0 3,000 . . . 2,550 0 5,100 . . . 2,550
2,000 6,000 3,000 5,000 0 5,000 . . . 4,250 0 5,100 . . . 4,250
4,000 6,000 3,000 7,000 0 7,000 . . . 5,950 0 5,100 . . . 5.100
10,000 6,000 3,000 13,000 0 13,000 . . . 11,050 0 5,100 . . . 5,100
20,000 6,000 3,000 23,000 0 23,000 . . . 19,550 0 5,100 . . . 5,100
Individuals in all other filing categories
20,000 8,000 4,000 24,000 25,000 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
25,000 8,000 4,000 29,000 25,000 4,000 2,000 . . . . . . . . . 2,000 . . .
30,000 8,000 4,000 34,000 25,000 9,000 4,500 . . . . . . . . . 4,000 . . .
32,000 8,000 4,000 36,000 34,000 2,000 . . . 1,700 4,000 6,800 . . . 5,700
35,000 8,000 4,000 39,000 34,000 5,000 . . . 4,250 4,000 6,800 . . . 6,800
40,000 8,000 4,000 44,000 34,000 10,000 . . . 8,500 4,000 6,800 . . . 6,800
SOURCES: Social Security Act of 1935 (the Act), as amended through December 31, 2009; regulations issued under the Act; and precedential case decisions (rulings). Specific laws, regulations, rulings, legislation, and a link to the Federal Register can be found at the Social Security Program Rules page (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/regulations/index.htm). Taxation of Social Security benefits is governed by the Internal Revenue Service Code. IRS describes the rules governing taxation of Social Security benefits in IRS publication 915, available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p915.pdf.
NOTE: . . . = not applicable.
a. Adjusted gross income (before Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits are considered), plus tax-exempt interest income, with further modification of adjusted gross income in some cases involving certain tax provisions of limited applicability among the beneficiary population.
b. Social Security and Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits, including workers' compensation benefits to the extent they cause a reduction in either of these two types of benefits.
c. For married couples filing joint returns, up to 50 percent of benefits are subject to income tax if gross income is more than $32,000 but less than $44,000. If gross income is less than $32,000, none of the Social Security benefits will be taxable. If gross income exceeds $44,000, up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits will be taxable income. Similar lower and upper level thresholds or "base amounts" for single individuals are $25,000 and $34,000. There is no similar threshold or base amount for married individuals who live together but file separate returns (for example, up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits in those cases may be considered taxable income).
d. Includes only married taxpayers filing separately who lived with their spouse at any time during the tax year; married individuals filing separately who did not live with their spouse are treated the same as unmarried individuals.
CONTACT: Alberta Presberry (410) 966-8473 or supplement@ssa.gov.