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REDUCTION OF INSURANCE BENEFITS

Maximum Benefits

Sec203[42 U.S.C. 403] (a)(1) In the case of an individual whose primary insurance amount has been computed or recomputed under section 215(a)(1) or (4), or section 215(d), as in effect after December 1978, the total monthly benefits to which beneficiaries may be entitled under section 202 or 223 for a month on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of such individual shall, except as provided by paragraphs (3) and (6) (but prior to any increases resulting from the application of paragraph (2)(A)(ii)(III) of section 215(i)), be reduced as necessary so as not to exceed—

(A) 150 percent of such individual’s primary insurance amount to the extent that it does not exceed the amount established with respect to this subparagraph by paragraph (2),

(B) 272 percent of such individual’s primary insurance amount to the extent that it exceeds the amount established with respect to subparagraph (A) but does not exceed the amount established with respect to this subparagraph by paragraph (2),

(C) 134 percent of such individual’s primary insurance amount to the extent that it exceeds the amount established with respect to subparagraph (B) but does not exceed the amount established with respect to this subparagraph by paragraph (2), and

(D) 175 percent of such individual’s primary insurance amount to the extent that it exceeds the amount established with respect to subparagraph (C).

Any such amount that is not a multiple of $0.10 shall be decreased to the next lower multiple of $0.10.

(2)(A) For individuals who initially become eligible for old-age or disability insurance benefits, or who die (before becoming so eligible for such benefits), in the calendar year 1979, the amounts established with respect to subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of paragraph (1) shall be $230, $332, and $433, respectively.

(B) For individuals who initially become eligible for old-age or disability insurance benefits, or who die (before becoming so eligible for such benefits), in any calendar year after 1979, each of the amounts so established shall equal the product of the corresponding amount established for the calendar year 1979 by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph and the quotient obtained under subparagraph (B)(ii) of section 215(a)(1), with such product being rounded in the manner prescribed by section 215(a)(1)(B)(iii).

(C) In each calendar year after 1978 the Commissioner of Social Security shall publish in the Federal Register, on or before November 1, the formula which (except as provided in section 215(i)(2)(D)) is to be applicable under this paragraph to individuals who become eligible for old-age or disability insurance benefits, or who die (before becoming eligible for such benefits), in the following calendar year.

(D) A year shall not be counted as the year of an individual’s death or eligibility for purposes of this paragraph or paragraph (8) in any case where such individual was entitled to a disability insurance benefit for any of the 12 months immediately preceding the month of such death or eligibility (but there shall be counted instead the year of the individual’s eligibility for the disability insurance benefits to which he was entitled during such 12 months).

(3)(A) When an individual who is entitled to benefits on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of any insured individual and to whom this subsection applies would (but for the provisions of section 202(k)(2)(A)) be entitled to child’s insurance benefits for a month on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of one or more other insured individuals, the total monthly benefits to which all beneficiaries are entitled on the basis of such wages and self-employment income shall not be reduced under this subsection to less than the smaller of—

(i) the sum of the maximum amounts of benefits payable on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of all such insured individuals, or

(ii) an amount (I) initially equal to the product of 1.75 and the primary insurance amount that would be computed under section 215(a)(1), for January of the year determined for purposes of this clause under the following two sentences, with respect to average indexed monthly earnings equal to one-twelfth of the contribution and benefit base determined for that year under section 230, and (II) thereafter increased in accordance with the provisions of section 215(i)(2)(A)(ii).

The year established for purposes of clause (ii) shall be 1983 or, if it occurs later with respect to any individual, the year in which occurred the month that the application of the reduction provisions contained in this subparagraph began with respect to benefits payable on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of the insured individual. If for any month subsequent to the first month for which clause (ii) applies (with respect to benefits payable on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of the insured individual) the reduction under this subparagraph ceases to apply, then the year determined under the preceding sentence shall be redetermined (for purposes of any subsequent application of this subparagraph with respect to benefits payable on the basis of such wages and self-employment income) as though this subparagraph had not been previously applicable.

(B) When two or more persons were entitled (without the application of section 202(j)(1) and section 223(b)) to monthly benefits under section 202 or 223 for January 1971 or any prior month on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of such insured individual and the provisions of this subsection as in effect for any such month were applicable in determining the benefit amount of any persons on the basis of such wages and self-employment income, the total of benefits for any month after January 1971 shall not be reduced to less than the largest of—

(i) the amount determined under this subsection without regard to this subparagraph,

(ii) the largest amount which has been determined for any month under this subsection for persons entitled to monthly benefits on the basis of such insured individual’s wages and self-employment income, or

(iii) if any persons are entitled to benefits on the basis of such wages and self-employment income for the month before the effective month (after September 1972) of a general benefit increase under this title (as defined in section 215(i)(3)) or a benefit increase under the provisions of section 215(i), an amount equal to the sum of amounts derived by multiplying the benefit amount determined under this title (excluding any part thereof determined under section 202(w)) for the month before such effective month (including this subsection, but without the application of section 222(b), section 202(q), and subsections (b), (c), and (d) of this section), for each such person for such month, by a percentage equal to the percentage of the increase provided under such benefit increase (with any such increased amount which is not a multiple of $0.10 being rounded to the next lower multiple of $0.10);

but in any such case (I) subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall not be applied to such total of benefits after the application of clause (ii) or (iii), and (II) if section 202(k)(2)(A) was applicable in the case of any such benefits for a month, and ceases to apply for a month after such month, the provisions of clause (ii) or (iii) shall be applied, for and after the month in which section 202(k)(2)(A) ceases to apply, as though subparagraph (A) of this paragraph had not been applicable to such total of benefits for the last month for which clause (ii) or (iii) was applicable.

(C) When any of such individuals is entitled to monthly benefits as a divorced spouse under section 202(b) or (c) or as a surviving divorced spouse under section 202(e) or (f) for any month, the benefit to which he or she is entitled on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of such insured individual for such month shall be determined without regard to this subsection, and the benefits of all other individuals who are entitled for such month to monthly benefits under section 202 on the wages and self-employment income of such insured individual shall be determined as if no such divorced spouse or surviving divorced spouse were entitled to benefits for such month.

(D) In any case in which—

(i) two or more individuals are entitled to monthly benefits for the same month as a spouse under subsection (b) or (c) of section 202, or as a surviving spouse under subsection (e), (f), or (g) of section 202,

(ii) at least one of such individuals is entitled by reason of subparagraph (A)(ii) or (B) of section 216(h)(1), and

(iii) such entitlements are based on the wages and self-employment income of the same insured individual,

the benefit of the entitled individual whose entitlement is based on a valid marriage (as determined without regard to subparagraphs (A)(ii) and (B) of section 216(h)(1)) to such insured individual shall, for such month and all months thereafter, be determined without regard to this subsection, and the benefits of all other individuals who are entitled, for such month or any month thereafter, to monthly benefits under section 202 based on the wages and self-employment income of such insured individual shall be determined as if such entitled individual were not entitled to benefits for such month.

(4) In any case in which benefits are reduced pursuant to the provisions of this subsection, the reduction shall be made after any deductions under this section and after any deductions under section 222(b). Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, any reduction under this subsection in the case of an individual who is entitled to a benefit under subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), or (h) of section 202 for any month on the basis of the same wages and self-employment income as another person—

(A) who also is entitled to a benefit under subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), or (h) of section 202 for such month,

(B) who does not live in the same household as such individual, and

(C) whose benefit for such month is suspended (in whole or in part) pursuant to subsection (h)(3) of this section,

shall be made before the suspension under subsection (h)(3). Whenever a reduction is made under this subsection in the total of monthly benefits to which individuals are entitled for any month on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of an insured individual, each such benefit other than the old-age or disability insurance benefit shall be proportionately decreased.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, when—

(A) two or more persons are entitled to monthly benefits for a particular month on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of an insured individual and (for such particular month) the provisions of this subsection are applicable to such monthly benefits, and

(B) such individual’s primary insurance amount is increased for the following month under any provision of this title,

then the total of monthly benefits for all persons on the basis of such wages and self-employment income for such particular month, as determined under the provisions of this subsection, shall for purposes of determining the total monthly benefits for all persons on the basis of such wages and self-employment income for months subsequent to such particular month be considered to have been increased by the smallest amount that would have been required in order to assure that the total of monthly benefits payable on the basis of such wages and self-employment income for any such subsequent month will not be less (after the application of the other provisions of this subsection and section 202(q)) than the total of monthly benefits (after the application of the other provisions of this subsection and section 202(q)) payable on the basis of such wages and self-employment income for such particular month.

(6) Notwithstanding any of the preceding provisions of this subsection other than paragraphs (3)(A), (3)(C), (3)(D), (4), and (5) (but subject to section 215(i)(2)(A)(ii)), the total monthly benefits to which beneficiaries may be entitled under sections 202 and 223 for any month on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of an individual entitled to disability insurance benefits shall be reduced (before the application of section 224) to the smaller of—

(A) 85 percent of such individual’s average indexed monthly earnings (or 100 percent of his primary insurance amount, if larger), or

(B) 150 percent of such individual’s primary insurance amount.

(7) In the case of any individual who is entitled for any month to benefits based upon the primary insurance amounts of two or more insured individuals, one or more of which primary insurance amounts were determined under section 215(a) or 215(d) as in effect (without regard to the table contained therein) prior to January 1979 and one or more of which primary insurance amounts were determined under section 215(a)(1) or (4), or section 215(d), as in effect after December 1978, the total benefits payable to that individual and all other individuals entitled to benefits for that month based upon those primary insurance amounts shall be reduced to an amount equal to the amount determined in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (3)(A)(ii) of this subsection, except that for this purpose the references to subparagraph (A) in the last two sentences of paragraph (3)(A) shall be deemed to be references to paragraph (7).

(8) Subject to paragraph (7) and except as otherwise provided in paragraph (10)(C), this subsection as in effect in December 1978 shall remain in effect with respect to a primary insurance amount computed under section 215(a) or (d), as in effect (without regard to the table contained therein) in December 1978 and as amended by section 5117 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990[50], except that a primary insurance amount so computed with respect to an individual who first becomes eligible for an old-age or disability insurance benefit, or dies (before becoming eligible for such a benefit), after December 1978, shall instead be governed by this section as in effect after December 1978. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the phrase “rounded to the next higher multiple of $0.10”, as it appeared in subsection (a)(2)(C) of this section as in effect in December 1978, shall be deemed to read “rounded to the next lower multiple of $0.10”.

(9) When—

(A) one or more persons were entitled (without the application of section 202(j)(1)) to monthly benefits under section 202 for May 1978 on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of an individual,

(B) the benefit of at least one such person for June 1978 is increased by reason of the amendments made by section 204 of the Social Security Amendments of 1977[51]; and

(C) the total amount of benefits to which all such persons are entitled under such section 202 are reduced under the provisions of this subsection (or would be so reduced except for the first sentence of section 203(a)(4)),

then the amount of the benefit to which each such person is entitled for months after May 1978 shall be increased (after such reductions are made under this subsection) to the amount such benefits would have been if the benefit of the person or persons referred to in subparagraph (B) had not been so increased.

(10)(A) Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C)—

(i) the total monthly benefits to which beneficiaries may be entitled under sections 202 and 223 for a month on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of an individual whose primary insurance amount is computed under section 215(a)(2)(B)(i) shall equal the total monthly benefits which were authorized by this section with respect to such individual’s primary insurance amount for the last month of his prior entitlement to disability insurance benefits, increased for this purpose by the general benefit increases and other increases under section 215(i) that would have applied to such total monthly benefits had the individual remained entitled to disability insurance benefits until the month in which he became entitled to old-age insurance benefits or reentitled to disability insurance benefits or died, and

(ii) the total monthly benefits to which beneficiaries may be entitled under sections 202 and 223 for a month on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of an individual whose primary insurance amount is computed under section 215(a)(2)(C) shall equal the total monthly benefits which were authorized by this section with respect to such individual’s primary insurance amount for the last month of his prior entitlement to disability insurance benefits.

(B) In any case in which—

(i) the total monthly benefits with respect to such individual’s primary insurance amount for the last month of his prior entitlement to disability insurance benefits was computed under paragraph (6), and

(ii) the individual’s primary insurance amount is computed under subparagraph (B)(i) or (C) of section 215(a)(2) by reason of the individual’s entitlement to old-age insurance benefits or death,

the total monthly benefits shall equal the total monthly benefits that would have been authorized with respect to the primary insurance amount for the last month of his prior entitlement to disability insurance benefits if such total monthly benefits had been computed without regard to paragraph (6).

(C) This paragraph shall apply before the application of paragraph (3)(A), and before the application of section 203(a)(1) of this Act as in effect in December 1978.

Deductions on Account of Work

(b)(1) Deductions, in such amounts and at such time or times as the Commissioner of Social Security shall determine, shall be made from any payment or payments under this title to which an individual is entitled, and from any payment or payments to which any other persons are entitled on the basis of such individual’s wages and self-employment income, until the total of such deductions equals—

(A) such individual’s benefit or benefits under section 202 for any month, and

(B) if such individual was entitled to old-age insurance benefits under section 202(a) for such month, the benefit or benefits of all other persons for such month under section 202 based on such individual’s wages and self-employment income,

if for such month he is charged with excess earnings, under the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, equal to the total of benefits referred to in clauses (A) and (B). If the excess earnings so charged are less than such total of benefits, such deductions with respect to such month shall be equal only to the amount of such excess earnings. If a child who has attained the age of 18 and is entitled to child’s insurance benefits, or a person who is entitled to mother’s or father’s insurance benefits, is married to an individual entitled to old-age insurance benefits under section 202(a), such child or such person, as the case may be, shall, for the purposes of this subsection and subsection (f), be deemed to be entitled to such benefits on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of such individual entitled to old-age insurance benefits. If a deduction has already been made under this subsection with respect to a person’s benefit or benefits under section 202 for a month, he shall be deemed entitled to payments under such section for such month for purposes of further deductions under this subsection, and for purposes of charging of each person’s excess earnings under subsection (f), only to the extent of the total of his benefits remaining after such earlier deductions have been made. For purposes of this subsection and subsection (f)—

(i) an individual shall be deemed to be entitled to payments under section 202 equal to the amount of the benefit or benefits to which he is entitled under such section after the application of subsection (a) of this section, but without the application of the first sentence of paragraph (4) thereof; and

(ii) if a deduction is made with respect to an individual’s benefit or benefits under section 202 because of the occurrence in any month of an event specified in subsection (c) or (d) of this section or in section 222(b), such individual shall not be considered to be entitled to any benefits under such section 202 for such month.

(2)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), in any case in which—

(i) any of the other persons referred to in paragraph (1)(B) is entitled to monthly benefits as a divorced spouse under section 202(b) or (c) for any month, and

(ii) such person has been divorced for not less than 2 years,

the benefit to which he or she is entitled on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of the individual referred to in paragraph (1) for such month shall be determined without regard to deductions under this subsection as a result of excess earnings of such individual, and the benefits of all other individuals who are entitled for such month to monthly benefits under section 202 on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of such individual referred to in paragraph (1) shall be determined as if no such divorced spouse were entitled to benefits for such month.

(B) Clause (ii) of subparagraph (A) shall not apply with respect to any divorced spouse in any case in which the individual referred to in paragraph (1) became entitled to old-age insurance benefits under section 202(a) before the date of the divorce.

Deductions on Account of Noncovered Work Outside the United States or Failure to Have Child in Care

(c) Deductions, in such amounts and at such time or times as the Commissioner of Social Security shall determine, shall be made from any payment or payments under this title to which an individual is entitled, until the total of such deductions equals such individual’s benefits or benefit under section 202 for any month—

(1) in which such individual is under retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)) and for more than forty-five hours of which such individual engaged in noncovered remunerative activity outside the United States;

(2) in which such individual, if a wife or husband under retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)) entitled to a wife’s or husband’s insurance benefit, did not have in his or her care (individually or jointly with his or her spouse) a child of such spouse entitled to a child’s insurance benefit and such wife’s or husband’s insurance benefit for such month was not reduced under the provisions of section 202(q);

(3) in which such individual, if a widow or widower entitled to a mother’s or father’s insurance benefit, did not have in his or her care a child of his or her deceased spouse entitled to a child’s insurance benefit; or

(4) in which such an individual, if a surviving divorced mother or father entitled to a mother’s or father’s insurance benefit, did not have in his or her care a child of his or her deceased former spouse who (A) is his or her son, daughter, or legally adopted child and (B) is entitled to a child’s insurance benefit on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of such deceased former spouse.

For purposes of paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of this subsection, a child shall not be considered to be entitled to a child’s insurance benefit for any month in which paragraph (1) of section 202(s) applies or an event specified in section 222(b) occurs with respect to such child. Subject to paragraph (3) of such section 202(s), no deduction shall be made under this subsection from any child’s insurance benefit for the month in which the child entitled to such benefit attained the age of eighteen or any subsequent month; nor shall any deduction be made under this subsection from any widow’s or widower’s insurance benefit if the widow, surviving divorced wife, widower, or surviving divorced husband involved became entitled to such benefit prior to attaining age 60.

Deductions From Dependents‘ Benefits on Account of Noncovered Work Outside the United States by Old–Age Insurance Beneficiary

(d)(1)(A) Deductions shall be made from any wife’s, husband’s, or child’s insurance benefit, based on the wages and self-employment income of an individual entitled to old-age insurance benefits, to which a wife, divorced wife, husband, divorced husband, or child is entitled, until the total of such deductions equals such wife’s, husband’s, or child’s insurance benefit or benefits under section 202 for any month in which such individual is under retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)) and for more than forty-five hours of which such individual engaged in noncovered remunerative activity outside the United States.

(B)(i) Except as provided in clause (ii), in any case in which—

(I) a divorced spouse is entitled to monthly benefits under section 202(b) or (c) for any month, and

(II) such divorced spouse has been divorced for not less than 2 years,

the benefit to which he or she is entitled for such month on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of the individual entitled to old-age insurance benefits referred to in subparagraph (A) shall be determined without regard to deductions under this paragraph as a result of excess earnings of such individual, and the benefits of all other individuals who are entitled for such month to monthly benefits under section 202 on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of such individual referred to in subparagraph (A) shall be determined as if no such divorced spouse were entitled to benefits for such month.

(ii) Subclause (II) of clause (i) shall not apply with respect to any divorced spouse in any case in which the individual entitled to old-age insurance benefits referred to in subparagraph (A) became entitled to such benefits before the date of the divorce.

(2) Deductions shall be made from any child’s insurance benefit to which a child who has attained the age of eighteen is entitled, or from any mother’s or father’s insurance benefit to which a person is entitled, until the total of such deductions equals such child’s insurance benefit or benefits or mother’s or father’s insurance benefit or benefits under section 202 for any month in which such child or person entitled to mother’s or father’s insurance benefits is married to an individual under retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)), who is entitled to old-age insurance benefits and for more than forty-five hours of which such individual engaged in noncovered remunerative activity outside the United States.

Occurrence of More Than One Event

(e) If more than one of the events specified in subsections (c) and (d) and section 222(b) occurs in any one month which would occasion deductions equal to a benefit for such month, only an amount equal to such benefit shall be deducted.

Months to Which Earnings Are Charged

(f) For purposes of subsection (b)—

(1) The amount of an individual’s excess earnings (as defined in paragraph (3)) shall be charged to months as follows: There shall be charged to the first month of such taxable year an amount of his excess earnings equal to the sum of the payments to which he and all other persons (excluding divorced spouses referred to in subsection (b)(2)) are entitled for such month under section 202 on the basis of his wages and self-employment income (or the total of his excess earnings if such excess earnings are less than such sum), and the balance, if any, of such excess earnings shall be charged to each succeeding month in such year to the extent, in the case of each such month, of the sum of the payments to which such individual and all such other persons are entitled for such month under section 202 on the basis of his wages and self-employment income, until the total of such excess has been so charged. Where an individual is entitled to benefits under section 202(a) and other persons (excluding divorced spouses referred to in subsection (b)(2)) are entitled to benefits under section 202(b), (c), or (d) on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of such individual, the excess earnings of such individual for any taxable year shall be charged in accordance with the provisions of this subsection before the excess earnings of such persons for a taxable year are charged to months in such individual’s taxable year. Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this paragraph but subject to section 202(s), no part of the excess earnings of an individual shall be charged to any month (A) for which such individual was not entitled to a benefit under this title, (B) in which such individual was at or above retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)), (C) in which such individual, if a child entitled to child’s insurance benefits, has attained the age of 18, (D) for which such individual is entitled to widow’s or widower’s insurance benefits if such individual became so entitled prior to attaining age 60, (E) in which such individual did not engage in self-employment and did not render services for wages (determined as provided in paragraph (5) of this subsection) of more than the applicable exempt amount as determined under paragraph (8), if such month is in the taxable year in which occurs the first month after December 1977 that is both (i) a month for which the individual is entitled to benefits under subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), or (h) of section 202 (without having been entitled for the preceding month to a benefit under any other of such subsections), and (ii) a month in which the individual did not engage in self-employment and did not render services for wages (determined as provided in paragraph (5)) of more than the applicable exempt amount as determined under paragraph (8), or (F) in which such individual did not engage in self-employment and did not render services for wages (determined as provided in paragraph (5) of this subsection) of more than the applicable exempt amount as determined under paragraph (8), in the case of an individual entitled to benefits under section 202(b) or (c) (but only by reason of having a child in his or her care within the meaning of paragraph (1)(B) of subsection (b) or (c), as may be applicable) or under section 202(d) or (g), if such month is in a year in which such entitlement ends for a reason other than the death of such individual, and such individual is not entitled to any benefits under this title for the month following the month during which such entitlement under section 202(b), (d), or (g) ended.

(2) As used in paragraph (1), the term “first month of such taxable year” means the earliest month in such year to which the charging of excess earnings described in such paragraph is not prohibited by the application of clauses (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), and (F) thereof.

(3) For purposes of paragraph (1) and subsection (h), an individual’s excess earnings for a taxable year shall be 33 1/3 percent of his earnings for such year in excess of the product of the applicable exempt amount as determined under paragraph (8) in the case of an individual who has attained (or, but for the individual’s death, would have attained) retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)) before the close of such taxable year, or 50 percent of his earnings for such year in excess of such product in the case of any other individual, multiplied by the number of months in such year, except that, in determining an individual’s excess earnings for the taxable year in which he attains retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)), there shall be excluded any earnings of such individual for the month in which he attains such age and any subsequent month (with any net earnings or net loss from self-employment in such year being prorated in an equitable manner under regulations of the Commissioner of Social Security). For purposes of the preceding sentence, notwithstanding section 211(e), the number of months in the taxable year in which an individual dies shall be 12. The excess earnings as derived under the first sentence of this paragraph, if not a multiple of $1, shall be reduced to the next lower multiple of $1.

(4) For purposes of clause (E) of paragraph (1)—

(A) An individual will be presumed, with respect to any month, to have been engaged in self-employment in such month until it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security that such individual rendered no substantial services in such month with respect to any trade or business the net income or loss of which is includible in computing (as provided in paragraph (5) of this subsection) his net earnings or net loss from self-employment for any taxable year. The Commissioner of Social Security shall by regulations prescribe the methods and criteria for determining whether or not an individual has rendered substantial services with respect to any trade or business.

(B) An individual will be presumed, with respect to any month, to have rendered services for wages (determined as provided in paragraph (5) of this subsection) of more than the applicable exempt amount as determined under paragraph (8) until it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security that such individual did not render such services in such month for more than such amount.

(5)(A) An individual’s earnings for a taxable year shall be (i) the sum of his wages for services rendered in such year and his net earnings from self-employment for such year, minus (ii) any net loss from self-employment for such year.

(B) For purposes of this section—

(i) an individual’s net earnings from self-employment for any taxable year shall be determined as provided in section 211, except that paragraphs (1), (4), and (5) of section 211(c) shall not apply and the gross income shall be computed by excluding the amounts provided by subparagraph (D), and

(ii) an individual’s net loss from self-employment for any taxable year is the excess of the deductions (plus his distributive share of loss described in section 702(a)(8) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986[52] taken into account under clause (i) over the gross income (plus his distributive share of income so described) taken into account under clause (i).

(C) For purposes of this subsection, an individual’s wages shall be computed without regard to the limitations as to amounts of remuneration specified in paragraphs (1), (6)(B), (6)(C), (7)(B), and (8) of section 209(a); and in making such computation services which do not constitute employment as defined in section 210, performed within the United States by the individual as an employee or performed outside the United States in the active military or naval service of the United States, shall be deemed to be employment as so defined if the remuneration for such services is not includible in computing his net earnings or net loss from self-employment. The term “wages” does not include—

(i) the amount of any payment made to, or on behalf of, an employee or any of his dependents (including any amount paid by an employer for insurance or annuities, or into a fund, to provide for any such payment) on account of retirement, or

(ii) any payment or series of payments by an employer to an employee or any of his dependents upon or after the termination of the employee’s employment relationship because of retirement after attaining an age specified in a plan referred to in section 209(a)(11)(B) or in a pension plan of the employer.

(D) In the case of—

(i) an individual who has attained retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)) on or before the last day of the taxable year, and who shows to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security that he or she is receiving royalties attributable to a copyright or patent obtained before the taxable year in which he or she attained such age and that the property to which the copyright or patent relates was created by his or her own personal efforts, or

(ii) an individual who has become entitled to insurance benefits under this title, other than benefits under section 223 or benefits payable under section 202(d) by reason of being under a disability, and who shows to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security that he or she is receiving, in a year after his or her initial year of entitlement to such benefits, any other income not attributable to services performed after the month in which he or she initially became entitled to such benefits,

there shall be excluded from gross income any such royalties or other income.

(E) For purposes of this section, any individual’s net earnings from self-employment which result from or are attributable to the performance of services by such individual as a director of a corporation during any taxable year shall be deemed to have been derived (and received) by such individual in that year, at the time the services were performed, regardless of when the income, on which the computation of such net earnings from self-employment is based, is actually paid to or received by such individual (unless such income was actually paid and received prior to that year).

(6) For purposes of this subsection, wages (determined as provided in paragraph (5)(C)) which, according to reports received by the Commissioner of Social Security, are paid to an individual during a taxable year shall be presumed to have been paid to him for services performed in such year until it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security that they were paid for services performed in another taxable year. If such reports with respect to an individual show his wages for a calendar year, such individual’s taxable year shall be presumed to be a calendar year for purposes of this subsection until it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security that his taxable year is not a calendar year.

(7) Where an individual’s excess earnings are charged to a month and the excess earnings so charged are less than the total of the payments (without regard to such charging) to which all persons (excluding divorced spouses referred to in subsection (b)(2)) are entitled under section 202 for such month on the basis of his wages and self-employment income, the difference between such total and the excess so charged to such month shall be paid (if it is otherwise payable under this title) to such individual and other persons in the proportion that the benefit to which each of them is entitled (without regard to such charging, without the application of section 202(k)(3), and prior to the application of section 203(a)) bears to the total of the benefits to which all of them are entitled.

(8)(A) Whenever the Commissioner of Social Security pursuant to section 215(i) increases benefits effective with the month of December following a cost-of-living computation quarter he shall also determine and publish in the Federal Register on or before November 1 of the calendar year in which such quarter occurs the new exempt amounts (separately stated for individuals described in subparagraph (D) and for other individuals) which are to be applicable (unless prevented from becoming effective by subparagraph (C)) with respect to taxable years ending in (or with the close of) the calendar year after the calendar year in which such benefit increase is effective (or, in the case of an individual who dies during the calendar year after the calendar year in which the benefit increase is effective, with respect to such individual’s taxable year which ends, upon his death, during such year).

(B) Except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (D), the exempt amount which is applicable to individuals described in such subparagraph and the exempt amount which is applicable to other individuals, for each month of a particular taxable year, shall each be whichever of the following is the larger—

(i) the corresponding exempt amount which is in effect with respect to months in the taxable year in which the determination under subparagraph (A) is made, or

(ii) the product of the corresponding exempt amount which is in effect with respect to months in the taxable year ending after 2001 and before 2003 (with respect to individuals described in subparagraph (D)) or the taxable year ending after 1993 and before 1995 (with respect to other individuals), and the ratio of—

(I) the national average wage index (as defined in section 209(k)(1)) for the calendar year before the calendar year in which the determination under subparagraph (A) is made, to

(II) the national average wage index (as so defined) for 2000 (with respect to individuals described in subparagraph (D)) or 1992 (with respect to other individuals),

with such product, if not a multiple of $10, being rounded to the next higher multiple of $10 where such product is a multiple of $5 but not of $10 and to the nearest multiple of $10 in any other case. Whenever the Commissioner of Social Security determines that an exempt amount is to be increased in any year under this paragraph, he shall notify the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance within 30 days after the close of the base quarter (as defined in section 215(i)(1)(A)) in such year of the estimated amount of such increase, indicating the new exempt amount, the actuarial estimates of the effect of the increase, and the actuarial assumptions and methodology used in preparing such estimates.

(C) Notwithstanding the determination of a new exempt amount by the Commissioner of Social Security under subparagraph (A) (and notwithstanding any publication thereof under such subparagraph or any notification thereof under the last sentence of subparagraph (B)), such new exempt amount shall not take effect pursuant thereto if during the calendar year in which such determination is made a law increasing the exempt amount is enacted.

(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, the exempt amount which is applicable to an individual who has attained retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)) before the close of the taxable year involved shall be—

(i) for each month of any taxable year ending after 1995 and before 1997, $1,041.66 2/3,

(ii) for each month of any taxable year ending after 1996 and before 1998, $1,125.00,

(iii) for each month of any taxable year ending after 1997 and before 1999, $1,208.33 1/3,

(iv) for each month of any taxable year ending after 1998 and before 2000, $1,291.66 2/3,

(v) for each month of any taxable year ending after 1999 and before 2001, $1,416.66 2/3,

(vi) for each month of any taxable year ending after 2000 and before 2002, $2,083.33 1/3,

(vii) for each month of any taxable year ending after 2001 and before 2003, $2,500.00.

(E) Notwithstanding subparagraph (D), no deductions in benefits shall be made under subsection (b) with respect to the earnings of any individual in any month beginning with the month in which the individual attains retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)).

(9) For purposes of paragraphs (3), (5)(D)(i), (8)(D), and (8)(E), the term “retirement age (as defined in section 216(l))”, with respect to any individual entitled to monthly insurance benefits under section 202, means the retirement age (as so defined) which is applicable in the case of old-age insurance benefits, regardless of whether or not the particular benefits to which the individual is entitled (or the only such benefits) are old-age insurance benefits.

Penalty for Failure To Report Certain Events

(g) Any individual in receipt of benefits subject to deduction under subsection (c), (or who is in receipt of such benefits on behalf of another individual), because of the occurrence of an event specified therein, who fails to report such occurrence to the Commissioner of Social Security prior to the receipt and acceptance of an insurance benefit for the second month following the month in which such event occurred, shall suffer deductions in addition to those imposed under subsection (c) as follows:

(1) if such failure is the first one with respect to which an additional deduction is imposed by this subsection, such additional deduction shall be equal to his benefit or benefits for the first month of the period for which there is a failure to report even though such failure is with respect to more than one month;

(2) if such failure is the second one with respect to which an additional deduction is imposed by this subsection, such additional deduction shall be equal to two times his benefit or benefits for the first month of the period for which there is a failure to report even though such failure is with respect to more than two months; and

(3) if such failure is the third or a subsequent one for which an additional deduction is imposed under this subsection, such additional deduction shall be equal to three times his benefit or benefits for the first month of the period for which there is a failure to report even though the failure to report is with respect to more than three months;

except that the number of additional deductions required by this subsection shall not exceed the number of months in the period for which there is a failure to report. As used in this subsection, the term “period for which there is a failure to report” with respect to any individual means the period for which such individual received and accepted insurance benefits under section 202 without making a timely report and for which deductions are required under subsection (c).

Report of Earnings to Commissioner of Social Security

(h)(1)(A) If an individual is entitled to any monthly insurance benefit under section 202 during any taxable year in which he has earnings or wages, as computed pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection (f), in excess of the product of the applicable exempt amount as determined under subsection (f)(8) times the number of months in such year, such individual (or the individual who is in receipt of such benefit on his behalf) shall make a report to the Commissioner of Social Security of his earnings (or wages) for such taxable year. Such report shall be made on or before the fifteenth day of the fourth month following the close of such year, and shall contain such information and be made in such manner as the Commissioner of Social Security may by regulations prescribe. Such report need not be made for any taxable year—

(i) beginning with or after the month in which such individual attained retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)), or

(ii) if benefit payments for all months (in such taxable year) in which such individual is under retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)) have been suspended under the provisions of the first sentence of paragraph (3) of this subsection, unless—

(I) such individual is entitled to benefits under subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), or (h) of section 202,

(II) such benefits are reduced under subsection (a) of this section for any month in such taxable year, and

(III) in any such month there is another person who also is entitled to benefits under subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), or (h) of section 202 on the basis of the same wages and self-employment income and who does not live in the same household as such individual.

The Commissioner of Social Security may grant a reasonable extension of time for making the report of earnings required in this paragraph if the Commissioner finds that there is valid reason for a delay, but in no case may the period be extended more than four months.

(B) If the benefit payments of an individual have been suspended for all months in any taxable year under the provisions of the first sentence of paragraph (3) of this subsection, no benefit payment shall be made to such individual for any such month in such taxable year after the expiration of the period of three years, three months, and fifteen days following the close of such taxable year unless within such period the individual, or some other person entitled to benefits under this title on the basis of the same wages and self-employment income, files with the Commissioner of Social Security information showing that a benefit for such month is payable to such individual.

(2) If an individual fails to make a report required under paragraph (1), within the time prescribed by or in accordance with such paragraph, for any taxable year and any deduction is imposed under subsection (b) by reason of his earnings for such year, he shall suffer additional deductions as follows:

(A) if such failure is the first one with respect to which an additional deduction is imposed under this paragraph, such additional deduction shall be equal to his benefit or benefits for the last month of such year for which he was entitled to a benefit under section 202, except that if the deduction imposed under subsection (b) by reason of his earnings for such year is less than the amount of his benefit (or benefits) for the last month of such year for which he was entitled to a benefit under section 202, the additional deduction shall be equal to the amount of the deduction imposed under subsection (b) but not less than $10;

(B) if such failure is the second one for which an additional deduction is imposed under this paragraph, such additional deduction shall be equal to two times his benefit or benefits for the last month of such year for which he was entitled to a benefit under section 202;

(C) if such failure is the third or a subsequent one for which an additional deduction is imposed under this paragraph, such additional deduction shall be equal to three times his benefit or benefits for the last month of such year for which he was entitled to a benefit under section 202;

except that the number of the additional deductions required by this paragraph with respect to a failure to report earnings for a taxable year shall not exceed the number of months in such year for which such individual received and accepted insurance benefits under section 202 and for which deductions are imposed under subsection (b) by reason of his earnings. In determining whether a failure to report earnings is the first or a subsequent failure for any individual, all taxable years ending prior to the imposition of the first additional deduction under this paragraph, other than the latest one of such years, shall be disregarded.

(3) If the Commissioner of Social Security determines, on the basis of information obtained by or submitted to him, that it may reasonably be expected that an individual entitled to benefits under section 202 for any taxable year will suffer deductions imposed under subsection (b) by reason of his earnings for such year, the Commissioner of Social Security may, before the close of such taxable year, suspend the total or less than the total payment for each month in such year (or for only such months as the Commissioner of Social Security may specify) of the benefits payable on the basis of such individual’s wages and self-employment income; and such suspension shall remain in effect with respect to the benefits for any month until the Commissioner of Social Security has determined whether or not any deduction is imposed for such month under subsection (b). The Commissioner of Social Security is authorized, before the close of the taxable year of an individual entitled to benefits during such year, to request of such individual that he make, at such time or times as the Commissioner of Social Security may specify, a declaration of his estimated earnings for the taxable year and that he furnish to the Commissioner of Social Security such other information with respect to such earnings as the Commissioner of Social Security may specify. A failure by such individual to comply with any such request shall in itself constitute justification for a determination under this paragraph that it may reasonably be expected that the individual will suffer deductions imposed under subsection (b) by reason of his earnings for such year. If, after the close of a taxable year of an individual entitled to benefits under section 202 for such year, the Commissioner of Social Security requests such individual to furnish a report of his earnings (as computed pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection (f)) for such taxable year or any other information with respect to such earnings which the Commissioner of Social Security may specify, and the individual fails to comply with such request, such failure shall in itself constitute justification for a determination that such individual’s benefits are subject to deductions under subsection (b) for each month in such taxable year (or only for such months thereof as the Commissioner of Social Security may specify) by reason of his earnings for such year.

(4) The Commissioner of Social Security shall develop and implement procedures in accordance with this subsection to avoid paying more than the correct amount of benefits to any individual under this title as a result of such individual’s failure to file a correct report or estimate of earnings or wages. Such procedures may include identifying categories of individuals who are likely to be paid more than the correct amount of benefits and requesting that they estimate their earnings or wages more frequently than other persons subject to deductions under this section on account of earnings or wages.

(i) [Repealed.[53]]

Attainment of Retirement Age

(j) For the purposes of this section, an individual shall be considered as having attained retirement age (as defined in section 216(l)) during the entire month in which he attains such age.

Noncovered Remunerative Activity Outside the United States

(k) An individual shall be considered to be engaged in noncovered remunerative activity outside the United States if he performs services outside the United States as an employee and such services do not constitute employment as defined in section 210 and are not performed in the active military or naval service of the United States, or if he carries on a trade or business outside the United States (other than the performance of service as an employee) the net income or loss of which (1) is not includible in computing his net earnings from self-employment for a taxable year and (2) would not be excluded from net earnings from self-employment, if carried on in the United States, by any of the numbered paragraphs of section 211(a). When used in the preceding sentence with respect to a trade or business (other than the performance of service as an employee), the term “United States” does not include the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, or American Samoa in the case of an alien who is not a resident of the United States (including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa); and the term “trade or business” shall have the same meaning as when used in section 162 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986[54].

Good Cause for Failure To Make Reports Required

(l) The failure of an individual to make any report required by subsection (g) or (h)(1)(A) within the time prescribed therein shall not be regarded as such a failure if it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security that he had good cause for failing to make such report within such time. The determination of what constitutes good cause for purposes of this subsection shall be made in accordance with regulations of the Commissioner of Social Security, except that in making any such determination, the Commissioner of Social Security shall specifically take into account any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitation such individual may have (including any lack of facility with the English language).


[50]  P.L. 101-508.

[51]  P.L. 95-216.

[52]  See Vol. II, P.L. 83-591, §702(a)(8).

[53]  P.L. 103-296, §309(a); 108 Stat. 1523.

[54]  See Vol. II, P.L. 83-591, §162.