Are Social Security Benefits Taxable?

The tax season is upon us and many Social Security disability benefit recipients may be wondering if the IRS has the right to tax their disability benefits. The answer is that some disability benefits are taxable, up to 50%. Tax year earnings may cause this percent to vary. However, up to 85% may be taxable if all earnings and half of benefits total more than $34,000 ($44,000 if married and filing jointly) or if married but filing separately and lived with the spouse at any time during the tax year.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, if earnings, including Social Security disability benefits, go beyond a calculated base amount, then a portion of Social Security disability benefits may be taxable. The base amount considers all the means of income that an individual receives. The IRS’ Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits Form 915 helps determine these calculations.

Below is a quick base amount determination to see if your disability benefits may be taxable by the IRS:

  • $25,000 if single, the head of household, or a qualifying widow or widower with a dependent child
  • $25,000 if married but filing separately and did not live with spouse at any time during the tax year
  • $32,000 is married and filing jointly
  • $0 if married but filing separately and live with spouse at any time during the tax year



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