All You Need to Know About the Time Limit for Reporting Social Security Credits

Oct 06, 2022 By Triston Martin


Workers who do not have an employer who handles their Social Security earnings reporting must do so themselves. They only have until March 31 of the fourth year after the calendar year the money was earned to claim it. If you do not disclose your earnings to Social Security within the required time frame, you will not be able to build up credits for the unreported income. This three-year grace period is extremely important for self-employed people who must file an amended return or file taxes after the standard April 15 deadline.

Exactly What Do SSI Benefits Entail?

Earnings from both salaried work and self-employment count toward a person's annual credit tally. Social Security retirement benefits are available to those who have accrued at least 40 credits during their working years (up to four credits each year). Earning $1,510 in 2022 will get you one credit, up to a maximum of four credits. In 2021, it would cost you one for every $1,470. This holds whether you're an employee or a business owner. If you have a job, your company will record your earnings, but if you're self-employed, you must file your taxes within three years, three months, and fifteen days of the end of the tax year.

Analysis of Social Security Benefits' Pros and Cons

Social Security gives workers something to build on in terms of retirement income. If a worker's a disability or death, their family will get much-needed social insurance benefits. The fact that it provides retirees with a steady income, allows them to decide when they wish to start receiving benefits, and even covers qualified non-working spouses are all benefits of Social Security. Some people will be ineligible, and its funding is decreasing, both drawbacks.

See Appendices C and F

It can be complicated to figure out how much of your income should be reported on Schedule C or Schedule F to maximize your Social Security benefits. As an illustration, say your small business made $75,000 in revenue for the year. Nonetheless, if you deducted $25,000 in company expenses, your net income would be $50,000. Schedule SE is then used to compute the Social Security tax. Those who are self-employed may need some extra time to compile the data required to complete their tax returns (Forms 1040, Schedule C, and Schedule SE), and some may not get around to filing until long after the deadline has gone. Social Security credits must be claimed within three years of the tax return's due date.

How the Three-Year Rule Came to Be in the Law

Section 205(c)(1) of the Social Security Act, sometimes referred to as 42 USC 405, contains the provision that describes how to apply for your Social Security credits. The statute of limitations for establishing self-employment earnings to acquire Social Security credits is outlined in this law. Income tax returns not submitted within that time frame will not be accepted as proof of earnings to determine Social Security eligibility. Returns must be filed within the required time frame to qualify for Social Security benefits, as established by the courts.

Filing for Social Security

You can apply for Social Security benefits online on the SSA's website, over the phone with an agent, or in person at your local Social Security office. The current state of the economy necessitates a prior appointment to visit a local office. In addition to online calculators to assist you in estimating your potential benefit amount, the SSA website also features up-to-date information on credit requirements for disability benefits.


Because the Social Security Administration does not send out annual Social Security statements through the mail anymore, you will need to register on the website of the Social Security Administration to view a record of your earnings. It would help if you made it a habit to check this annual statement regularly to ensure that your wages and total earnings from self-employment are reflected accurately.

If your earnings are incorrect, you have until the end of the three years to take action to ensure that you are given credit for all of your earnings. If you haven't already, and you were self-employed, you must file your tax returns before the deadline to avoid penalties. A self-employed person has until April 15 of the third year to file their taxes to comply with the time limit of three years, three months, and 15 days to continue to receive credit for Social Security purposes.

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