20 CFR 404.1001 - Introduction.
(1) In general, your social security benefits are based on your earnings that are on our records. ( Subpart I of this part explains how we keep earnings records.) Basically, you receive credit only for earnings that are covered for social security purposes. The earnings are covered only if your work is covered. If you are an employee, your employer files a report of your covered earnings. If you are self-employed, you file a report of your covered earnings. Some work is covered by social security and some work is not. Also, some earnings are covered by social security and some are not. It is important that you are aware of what kinds of work and earnings are covered so that you will know whether your earnings should be on our records.
(2) If you are an employee, your covered work is called employment. This subpart explains our rules on the kinds of work that are covered as employment and the kinds that are not. We also explain who is an employee.
(5) If you are self-employed, your covered earnings are called self-employment income which is based on your net earnings from self-employment during a taxable year. This subpart explains our rules on the kinds of earnings that are covered as net earnings from self-employment and the kinds that are not. We also explain how to figure your net earnings from self-employment and determine your self-employment income which is the amount that goes on our records.
(b) We include basically only the rules that apply to current work or that the law requires us to publish as regulations. We generally do not include rules that are seldom used or do not apply to current work because of changes in the law.
(c) The Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code (Code) have similar provisions on coverage of your earnings because the one law specifies the earnings for which you will receive credit for benefit purposes and the other the earnings on which you must pay social security taxes. Because the Code (title 26 U.S.C.) has some provisions that are not in the Act but which may affect you, you may need to refer to the Code or the Internal Revenue Service regulations (title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations) to get complete information about your social security coverage.
(d) The rules are organized in the following manner:
(1) Sections 404.1003 through 404.1010 include the rules on employment. We discuss what we mean by employment, what work is covered as employment for social security purposes, and describe the kinds of workers who are considered employees.
(2) In §§ 404.1012 through 404.1038 we discuss various types of work that are not covered as employment for social security purposes.
(3) The rules on wages are found in §§ 404.1041 through 404.1059. We describe what is meant by the term wages, discuss the various types of pay that count as wages, and state when the pay counts for Social Security purposes. We include explanations of agriculture labor, domestic services, service not in the course of the employer's business, and home worker services under wages because special standards apply to these services.
(4) Our rules on self-employment and self-employment income are found in §§ 404.1065 through 404.1096. We discuss what we mean by self-employment, what we mean by a trade or business, what types of activities are considered self-employment, how to determine self-employment income, and how net earnings from self-employment are figured.