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Monday, March 18, 2019

Are Social Security Benefits Taxable?

Many individuals rely on Social Security benefits to pay necessary living expenses. For many people, these benefits may be their sole sources of income. However, some individuals receive Social Security benefits in addition to other income. The amount of your Social Security benefits that is taxable depends on the total of your taxable income. If you have questions about disability benefits, a New York Social Security disability claims lawyer is an excellent source of information regarding taxes on disability benefits and other matters related to Social Security disability.

Calculating Your Total Taxable Income


Social Security benefits that may be taxable include retirement income, disability income, and survivor benefits. SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is never taxable.

To calculate your total income, add one-half of your Social Security benefits to all other income for the tax year, including nontaxable interest income. The total income determines if you are required to pay taxes on any portion of your Social Security benefits. If you are married and filing jointly with your spouse, you must combine your incomes to determine the taxable portion of your Social Security benefits.

Determining if Your Social Security Benefits are Taxable

When you have calculated your total income for the year, you can see which one of the three categories you fall within for tax purposes:

  • If your total income is below the base amount set by the IRS, you do not owe taxes on your Social Security income.
  • If your total income falls between the base amount and the maximum amount set by the IRS, up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits are taxable.
  • If your total income exceeds the maximum amount set by the IRS, up to 85 percent of your Social Security benefits are taxable.

Your filing status determines the base and maximum amounts used to determine if you owe taxes on your Social Security benefits. For individuals filing as a single, qualifying widow(er), or Head of Household taxpayer, the base is $25,000 and the maximum total income is $34,000. Couples who married and filing joint tax returns have a base of $32,000 with a maximum of $44,000. Couples who are married filing separately have a $0 base and $0 maximum if they resided together at any time during the year.  However, if the married couple lived apart for the entire year, they use the same base and maximum amounts that a single filer would use.

Are a Child’s Social Security Benefits Taxable?

If your child receives survivor benefits or dependent benefits, you do not include your child’s Social Security benefits in your total income. That money will not be taxable unless the child receives enough money from Social Security and other sources to make it necessary for the child to file a tax return.

Contact a New York Disability Attorney if You Have Questions

Filing for Social Security benefits is a straightforward process for some individuals. However, if you are filing for Social Security disability benefits, you may have questions about what qualifies as a disability and what you need to prove you are disabled. A New York disability attorney can assist you with filing a claim for disability benefits or an appeal of a denial of disability benefits. Contact our New York SSDI lawyers today to discuss your situation.


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