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Do I have to pay FICA taxes on my earnings if I also collect Social Security?

Yes. There is no exemption for paying the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) payroll taxes that fund the Social Security and Medicare systems. As long as you work in a job that is covered by Social Security, FICA taxes will be withheld from your paycheck.

The same goes if you remain actively self-employed. If your annual net profit from your business is more than $400, you have to pay your share of Social Security and Medicare — as both employer and employee — via the Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) taxes you pay with your federal tax return.

Keep in mind

  • Your work income could lower your benefit if you claimed Social Security before reaching full retirement age (currently 66 and gradually rising over the next several years to 67). That’s because early filers are subject to Social Security earnings limits, which trigger withholding from benefits if your income exceeds an annual cap (in 2019, it’s $17,640). 

Published October 10, 2018

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