You can set up and make contributions to a traditional IRA if:

  • You (or, if you file a joint return, your spouse) received taxable compensation during the year, and
  • You were not age 70½ by the end of the year.

You can generally set-up a Traditional IRA if you have income from working for yourself or someone else. If your only income is social security or passive income, such as interest, dividends, rental income, or capital gains, that income would not be considered earned income and would not be considered income available for purposes of making an IRA contribution.