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[[What is the definition of earned income? What is the definition of adjusted gross income?]]

These questions can get pretty complicated. But, generally, earned income comes from work that you preform. This income is generally reported to you via Form W-2 or by filing Sch C. In some cases, you can receive earned income from a partnership.

As far as AGI...that has different definitions for different purposes. For Roth IRA purposes, your AGI is your normal AGI, without regard for any increase in AGI caused by a Roth IRA contribution.

[[ My
income for 1998 consists of short term disability from my employer, long term disability from my
employer, social security disability, and investement income.]]

None of which, generally, meets the definition of "earned" income.

[[ Can I contribute to a 1998 Roth IRA?]]

Since you have no earned income, you would not be able to make a Roth IRA contribution.

[[ Can I convert my prior IRAs to Roths?]]

Earned income is NOT an issue with respect to Roth IRA conversions. The controlling number is your AGI.

I provide some additional information on this and other Roth IRA issues in the Taxes FAQ area (archives section). You might want to check it out for some additional information.

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