Should You Tithe on Social Security?

Social Security is the main source of income for over 40% of retirees, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security.[1] It also provides supplemental retirement income for millions of others. So it naturally begs the question: Should you tithe on it?

Tithing Wasn’t Our Idea

If you look at the Scriptures, you’ll see tithing wasn’t man’s idea. We didn’t come up with this. We probably never would have! God came up with tithing, so God is the one who gets to set the parameters for what tithing is and what it looks like. In fact, he laid out hundreds of details in the Torah for the Israelites about how to tithe and make sacrifices. Just read Leviticus and Deuteronomy! I think he gave them so many written details because it’s human nature to try to find a workaround. It’s human nature to do the minimum.

If we’re not careful, we’re no different than the Israelites. We’re always looking for a workaround. I’ve seen some retirees doing deep calculus and trigonometry to figure out how much they accurately need to give down to the penny. For example, some say that they shouldn’t have to tithe on their Social Security because they tithed through their working years, so they tithed on it already. I get it. But what you have to keep in mind is that the Social Security benefit you receive now isn’t merely a payment back of your FICA earnings. As part of the Social Security formula, those funds were invested by the Social Security administration before being paid back to you. The money you put in earned gains over time, so you’re getting back more than you paid in. Even if you tithed through your working years, you haven’t tithed on the investment gains.

That’s why I say that biblically, you should tithe at least 10% percent of your Social Security amount.

If you’re up in arms about this, look at the Scriptures. Does God love an analytical giver? Is that what the Bible says? No, 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Why does God love a cheerful giver? Because God himself is a cheerful giver. He’s joyfully given you everything you have. Those who give cheerfully are so happy because they’re freely and completely trusting him to provide.

On the opposite end are analytical givers. They’ve got their spreadsheets and their calculations to make sure they aren’t giving more than they’re obligated to. They want their tithe down to the penny. Fear—not faith—is their driving force. They doubt God will take care of their financial needs if they give too much. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’ve wondered the same thing. Maybe you’re hesitant to tithe on your Social Security because it’s your main source of income, like many retirees, and it’s scary to think about giving 10% off the top to the Lord.

One of the privileges of speaking about tithing and generosity is seeing the Lord come through in incredible ways for those who step out in faith. As you consider what God says about tithing, I encourage you to err on the side of sacrificial giving as God erred on the side of grace for your benefit to grant you salvation.

Give the Full 10%

Deuteronomy 14:22 says, “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year.” This means that the Israelites weren’t giving the same amount each year, but they were giving a tenth of whatever their fields produced. The percentage stayed the same, but the amount changed based on their total harvest.

This is applicable to us today. Because of inflation, we’ve seen very large Social Security increases happen recently. If you are tithing on your Social Security, make sure that you’re giving the full 10%. This means your tithe should be 10% of the gross amount of Social Security you’re receiving. If your bills increase yet your tithe decreases, you have your priorities out of order. Don’t let God and his Great Commission be sidelined in your budget because of inflation.


There’s no spiritual discount in the Bible for being retired. You don’t get a pass on tithing for being a senior. Christ commanded, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). There’s no age limit on obeying this verse. As believers, Christ comes first in how we spend two of our greatest assets, our time and our money.

It’s essential that you don’t neglect giving towards kingdom work in retirement. As you plan to retire, or maybe you’re already there, I’m sure you’re building your spending plan. I encourage you to pray and discuss as a family about how to not decrease, but increase your giving in retirement. Use your Social Security and other retirement income you have for the glory of God and the furthering of his kingdom to come.


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