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I thought only for Roth IRA one had to have earned income. The regular quallified one -not, or at least we pay taxes on the pension etc.

To contribute to any IRA, one must have earned income. Pension and SS income does not count. Here are the rules from IRS Publication 590 ( ):

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.

What Is Compensation?

Generally, compensation is what you earn from working. For a summary of what compensation does and does not include, see Table 1-1.

Table 1-1. Compensation for Purposes of an IRA
Includes ...                               Does not include ...  
wages, salaries, etc. earnings and profits from property.
commissions. interest and dividend income.
self-employment income. pension or annuity income.
alimony and separate maintenance. deferred compensation.
income from certain partnerships.
any amounts you exclude from income.

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