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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

Can rental income cause a reduction in a current Social Security benefit?

En español | Social Security only counts income earned from employment towards the Retirement Earnings Test.  Other kinds of income; including income from rental properties, lawsuit payments, inheritances, pensions, investment dividends, IRA distributions and interest; will not cause benefits to be reduced. For every $2 earned above the annual limit, $15,720 for 2015, Social Security withholds $1 in benefits. (A different formula applies for the year that the person reaches full retirement age.) Earnings made as an employee, net earnings from self-employment, bonuses and awards are among the things that count in calculating the person's income. But Social Security will not count other kinds of income, including income from rental properties. Other exempt income includes lawsuit payments, inheritances, pensions, investment dividends, IRA distributions and interest. The limit goes away after full retirement age – the person is free to earn unlimited amounts without any effect on benefits.

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