How Can I Avoid Having Taxable Disability Income
The most obvious way to avoid having to pay taxes on your SSDI benefits is to reduce your income, both earned and unearned, so that you dont meet the threshold. But thats not a realistic choice for many who live in areas with higher costs of living.
You may also consider reinvesting any dividends or earned interest into a tax-deferred investment to keep your income as low as possible. For example, your earned interest on a Certificate of Deposit must be reported as income, but if you invest in an annuity thats set up to reinvest your interest, that interest is tax deferred.
What To Look Out For
Because the application process for SSDI can take a long time, and the decisions are retroactive, you may receive a lump sum of backpay for the months you were disabled but your application wasnt yet approved. If you add that lump sum to your SSDI income for the year, it could push your earnings over the thresholds or even drive you into a higher tax bracket.
To avoid this, the IRS allows you to spread out the backpay as income over several years by amending your past returns dating back to the date you first applied for Social Security Disability, which is the earliest month that the backpay might apply. Your tax advisor can help you with your options.
Is Social Security Disability Back Pay Taxable
The short answer is yes, but there is more to take into consideration.
Because the IRS considers SSDI income to be a taxable benefit, a one-time lump sum payment that you otherwise would have received monthly is subject to the same tax requirements.;;
Lets look at an example using this scenario: You receive a monthly SSDI payment of $1,000, and the IRS calculates your SSDI taxes at 15%.;
In this situation, you would be responsible for paying $150 in taxes for one month. In this same scenario, if you received a lump-sum back payment of $10,000, it would still be taxed at 15%. So you would need to pay $1,500 in taxes on the back payment that you received.
Its important to note that just because a back payment is considered taxable, doesnt mean that you will have to pay taxes on it. Your income level might be below the taxable income threshold, even with a back payment. Or you may be able to apply some of your back payment amounts to previous years.
Recommended Reading: Where Is The Disability Resource Center Located
How Common Is It For Beneficiaries To Return To Work
Both Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security provide incentives for beneficiaries to work. Disability Insurance beneficiaries are encouraged to work up to their full capacity and can earn an unlimited amount for up to 12 months without losing any benefits. Beneficiaries who work for more than 12 months and have earnings above the substantial gainful activity level cease to receive a monthly benefit. If at any point in the next five years their condition worsens and they are not able to continue working above the substantial gainful activity level, however, they are eligible for expedited reinstatement of their benefits. This means they do not need to repeat the entire, and typically lengthy, disability-determination process that they initially went through to qualify for benefits.
Supplemental Security beneficiaries who are able to work are encouraged to do so as well. Their benefits are reduced based on their earningsafter the first $85 of earnings each month, which is not counted against the benefitbut by only $1 for every $2 of earnings. Beneficiaries who are able to do some work will therefore always be better off with both earnings and a reduced benefit than just the benefit alone.
Apply For Benefits Online
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Follow these easy steps to apply online for disability:
- To start your application, go to our Apply for Benefits page, and read and agree to the Terms of Service. Click Next.
- On that page, review the Getting Ready section to make sure you have the information you need to apply.
- Select Start A New Application.
- We will ask a few questions about who is filling out the application.
- You will then sign into your mySocial Security account, or you will be prompted to create one.
- Complete the application.
You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:
- Are age 18 or older.
- Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.
- Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death; and
- Have not been denied for disability in the last 60 days.
Note: If your application was recently denied, our application is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made.
You may be able to file online for SSI at the same time that you file for SSDI benefits. Once you complete the online process above, a Social Security representative will contact you if we need additional information.
You May Like: Do Part Time Employees Get Disability
Withdraw Taxable Income Before Retirement
Another way to minimize your taxable income when drawing Social Security is to maximize, or at least increase, your taxable income in the years before you begin to receive benefits.
You could be in your peak earning years between ages 59½ and retirement. Take a chunk of money out of your retirement account and pay the taxes on it. You can use it later on without pushing up your taxable income.
For example, you could withdraw funds a little earlyor “take distributions,” in tax jargonfrom your tax-sheltered retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401s. You can make distributions penalty-free after age 59½. That means you avoid being dinged for making these withdrawals too early, but you must still pay income tax on the amount you withdraw.
Since the withdrawals are taxable , they must be planned carefully with an eye on the other taxes you will pay that year. The goal is to pay less in tax by making more withdrawals during this pre-Social Security period than you would after you begin to draw benefits. That requires considering the total tax bite from withdrawals, Social Security benefits, and any other sources.
Be mindful, too, that at age 72, you’re required to take minimum distributions from these accounts, so you need to plan for those mandatory withdrawals.
Up To 85% Of A Taxpayer’s Benefits May Be Taxable If They Are:
- Filing single, head of household or qualifying widow or widower with more than $34,000 income.
The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help taxpayers answer the question Are My Social Security or Railroad Retirement Tier I Benefits Taxable?
The tax filing deadline has been postponed to Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The IRS is processing tax returns, issuing refunds and accepting payments. Taxpayers who mailed a tax return will experience a longer wait. There is no need to mail a second tax return or call the IRS.
Recommended Reading: Are Taxes Taken Out Of Short Term Disability
Social Security Disability Benefits And Federal Taxes
Your disability benefits may be subject to federal tax, depending on the total income of your household . For example, you will likely have to pay federal taxes on a portion of your disability benefits if:
Similarly, a portion of your disability benefits will be subject to federal taxes when you are single and earn more than $25,000 in income per year .
If your Social Security disability benefits are subject to federal taxation, do not fret about the possibility of a huge tax bill.; You will be taxed at the marginal income tax rate. Basically, this means your tax rate would not be 50 or 85 percent of your benefits. The tax rate on your benefits would probably be closer to 15 or 25 percent. However, if you have a higher household income, you may be required to pay around 35 percent on your disability benefits.
Do You Need To Pay Taxes On Your Ssdi Benefits
Whether or not you will need to pay taxes on your Social Security Disability benefits will depend on the amount of income you received last year. If your income minus your deductions is greater than the base income , any amount of income you made over the base income for your status is taxable.
On top of figuring out whether a portion of your income will be taxable, you will also need to figure out at what percentage that portion will be taxed. Similar to a standard tax bracket system, the higher you are above the base income, the more your benefits will be taxed. This can greatly assist those individuals and families who are just above the base income for taxation, but not drawing enough money to be taxed at a higher rate.
While the tax legalese can be confusing, you should have received two forms from the Social Security Administration that should make the process easier: Form SSA-1099 and Notice 703, which is a worksheet that helps you determine your income.
Recommended Reading: How To Claim Ssi Disability On Taxes
What Is Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance is a social insurance program funded by payroll taxes meant to help you if you become disabled. The program’s administrator, the Social Security Administration , allows you to earn coverage benefits if you meet their definition of disabled which includes becoming disabled for at least 12 months or in a way that is expected to be fatal.
The Social Security Disability Insurance program provides modest though vital benefits to you if you have suffered a serious and long-lasting medical disability.
If you worked long enough and recently enough, you and certain family members are considered “insured” by the program. As a result, you can receive benefits if you meet the eligibility requirements.
When Disability Benefits Can Be Taxed
Beverly Birda paralegal with over two decades of experiencehas been the tax expert for The Balance since 2015, crafting digestible personal finance, legal, and tax content for readers. Bird served as a paralegal on areas of tax law, bankruptcy, and family law. She has over 30 years of writing and editing experience, including eight years of financial reporting, and is also a published author of over 30 books.
Three types of benefits fall under the umbrella of Social Security: retirement benefits, disability benefits, and supplemental income. Social Security retirement and disability benefits might be taxable if you have other sources of income that push your total annual income above a certain threshold. About one-third of people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits pay taxes on at least a portion of what they receive.
You May Like: Does Gender Dysphoria Qualify For Disability
Income Limits For Ssdi Benefits
Note, however, that if you can earn an income, you may no longer qualify for Social Security disability insurance. Thatâs because if you can perform what the Social Security Administration describes as âsubstantial gainful activityâ , meaning work that results in a monthly income above a certain amount, then youâre no longer considered disabled enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.
As of 2018, nonblind people are considered to be performing SGA if they earn $1,180 or more per month. For blind people, the SGA limit is $1,970 per month.
How An Independent Insurance Agent Can Help
An independent insurance agent can be your knight in shining armor when it comes to figuring out your disability insurance. When you feel like it’s hopeless to find the right kind of coverage at the right price, they gallop in with coverage options that all fit right inside your budget.;;
And when it comes to getting answers to questions, like tax deductions and so on, they’ve got your back. Go on, give your local independent insurance agent a call and get going on your long-term disability insurance before its too late.
Recommended Reading: Can You Live In An Rv On Disability
State Taxes On Social Security Benefits
Everything weve discussed above is about your federal income taxes. Depending on where you live, you may also have to pay state income taxes.
There are 13 states that collect taxes on at least some Social Security income. Four of those states; follow the same taxation rules as the federal government. So if you live in one of those four states then you will pay the states regular income tax rates on all of your taxable benefits .
The other nine states also follow the federal rules but offer deductions or exemptions based on your age or income. So in those nine states, you likely wont pay tax on the full taxable amount.
The other 37 states do not tax Social Security income.
|State Taxes on Social Security Benefits|
|Taxed According to Federal Rules||Minnesota, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia|
|Partially Taxed||Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah|
|No State Tax on Social Security Benefits||Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming|
When You Do Pay Taxes On Benefits How Much
When your income is high enough to trigger income taxes on your disability benefits, the amount of benefits you have to claim is set on a scale.
- Monthly income of $2,083 or less when youre filing as an individual: You pay no taxes on disability benefits.
- Monthly income of $2,084 to $2,833 as an individual: You declare 50 percent of your disability benefits.
- Monthly income of $2,834 or more as an individual: You declare 85 percent of your benefits for taxes.
- Monthly income of $2,666 for a married couple: You pay no income taxes.
- Monthly income between $2,667 and $3,666 as a married couple: You declare 50 percent of your disability benefits.
- Monthly income of $3,667 or more as a married couple: You declare 85 percent of your disability benefits for taxes.
Just because you declare 50 percent to 85 percent of your disability benefits for income tax purposes, it doesnt mean thats the portion of your benefits you have to hand over to the government.
Instead, those are the amounts you add to your income total when calculating your taxes.
Then youre taxed at the same rate as any other income. If youre in the higher earning group, you could pay 35 percent of your total income in taxes. Most of the time, youll pay 10 to15 percent.
Recommended Reading: Is Brittle Bone Disease A Disability
Disability Benefits For Veterans
You may be eligible for disability benefits if you’re on disability from your service in the Canadian Armed Forces or Merchant Navy.
You may get social assistance payments from:
- your province or territory
- your First Nation
These payments will depend on your household income, savings and investments.
You may also be eligible for health-related benefits from your province or territory. These benefits may include benefits that help cover the cost of:
- medical aids or devices
When Will I Have To Pay Taxes On My Benefits
To determine if you will need to pay income tax on your benefits, you will need to assess the total tax-exempt income that you receive during the year as well as the total amount of benefits you receive. It is important to note that the benefits that you will calculate do not include Supplemental Security Income as those benefits are not taxable. If your total benefits exceed the below limits, you will need to pay taxes on a portion of your benefits.
- If you file taxes Single You will need to pay taxes if your combined income is more than $25,000
- If you file taxes as Married filing Jointly You will need to pay taxes if your combined income is more than $32,000
If your combined income is less than the above limits, you will not need to pay any income tax on the Social Security benefits you received that year.
Taxes And Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance benefits , are not taxable. This is typically true for those who have income on top of their disability benefits as well as those who are not earning additional income.;;
If you are not drawing SSDI, the basic rules apply:
If your total income is more than $25,000 for an individual or $32,000 for a married couple filing jointly, you must pay income taxes on your Social Security benefits.;
If you are earning less than this, your benefits are not taxed, and that holds true for those with SSDI or those who are receiving spousal or survivor benefits.;
What if you go beyond those limits? Lets consider that;
Does It Matter If My Benefits Come From Ssi Or Ssdi
Yes. If you are disabled and receiving SSI benefits, you are already established as belonging in the low-income tier, and you probably wont be taxed on ANY of your income. If you are receiving SSDI benefits, and you have significant income from other sources, then you can be taxed on up to half of your SSDI benefits.
This makes sense because SSDI payments are entitlements with no income limits to qualify, while people whose income is low enough to qualify for SSI payments already dont have enough income to pay taxes.
Don’t Miss: How To Apply For Michigan Disability Benefits