Social Security earning limit


Q: I am a Federal Employees Retirement System employee with the Prison Bureau (mandatory retirement at 57). My husband and I own ranch/farmland as an investment. After I retire, will the income from these operations be considered applicable for the Social Security earnings limit ($13,560 in 2008)? We have almost always shown a net loss on this operation in income tax reporting.

A: The Social Security earnings limit only applies to earning from wages or self-employment. If you report the income on your federal taxes and Social Security taxes are deducted from any of it, that portion would be counted toward the earnings limit.

— Reg Jones


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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