Taxes: When Your Dependent Child Receives SSI Disability

As if Filing Your Taxes Wasn't Complicated Enough...

Figuring out how to calculate your taxes can be very challenging, even with the help of a tax professional. If your dependent child collects unearned income from government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), figuring out what to claim on your tax return may be even more confusing. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service have gone to great lengths to set up simple guidelines that help you file your taxes when your child receives SSI disability benefits.

What Are Supplemental Security Insurance Benefits?

SSI payments are monthly cash benefits the US government pays to disabled individuals. If you don't meet the work history requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance, but you have a qualifying disability, you will be eligible to receive SSI benefits instead.

SSI benefits are based on your total household income, and the Social Security Administration determines the amount of your monthly benefits at the start of each year. You receive the same amount each month for the full year. The majority of people receiving SSI are disabled children, or adults who became disabled as children. Other recipients include disabled legal immigrants or other adults who don't meet the work requisites.

Does My Child Have to Pay Taxes on SSI Benefits?

The answer to that question is: it depends.

If your child earned income with a part-time job, then at least some of his SSI benefits may be subject to tax liability. This is also the case if during the year, your child received some other type of income, such as payments from a trust fund or an inheritance. How much of your child's SSI taxes are subject to a tax liability depends on how much the child earned through his other income sources.

If SSI was your child's sole source of income, he does not have to file a tax return and his benefits aren't taxed. This is generally true of most government benefits and entitlement programs: if they're the recipient's only income, then the recipient doesn't have to pay any taxes on them. 

Do I Claim My Child's SSI Benefits on My Taxes?

You can't claim your child's SSI benefits on your taxes, simply because it's not your income. Even if your child is very young, the government has no age limits for tax and income liability. If your child is receiving SSI benefits, the government counts that as his income, not yours. You can't claim it as income, and you aren't responsible for paying any taxes on it.

You can still claim your child as a dependent on your taxes even if she received SSI benefits, if he met any of the following conditions:

  • Your child was 19 years of age or younger at the end of the tax year;
  • The child is 24 years of age or younger and going to school full-time;
  • The child is permanently and totally disabled, regardless of how old he is.

To claim a child who receives SSI as your dependent, ensure that if he files his own tax return, he should check the box next to "If someone can claim you as a dependent, check the box below." If your child who receives SSI will not file a tax return this year, you don't have to do anything - you can claim him as a dependent even if he receives SSI benefits.

What About Child Support?

Child support payments can make filing your taxes even more confusing if the child for which you receive support also receives SSI. The Social Security Administration counts a portion of the total monthly child support your child receives as the child's income when calculating her SSI benefits.

Taxes are a slightly different matter.Child support is considered tax-neutral. Neither the recipient (your child), nor you, nor the absent parent paying the child support may claim child support payments on a tax return. Receiving child support won't affect your child's tax liability with her SSI benefits.

Comments 17 comments

cmahan profile image

cmahan 5 years ago from Michigan

Good job!

Bobbi 5 years ago

Very helpful, thanks so much!

*lisa* 5 years ago

Very informative. Thanks!

nina1986 5 years ago

very helpful information thank you so much

Samantha 4 years ago

Thanks! So clear and concise!

candy 4 years ago

I have 3 and 4 year old sons who get ssi and I work part time do I put there ssi on my taxes

deee 4 years ago

helpful soooo much!:)

Amber 4 years ago

Thank you so much!! This information was very helpful!

cathy 4 years ago

Thank you answered all my questions from the ssi for my child to the child support!!! Bravo!!!

Tracey 4 years ago

This website is very helpful...Thanks!

Katie 4 years ago

Candy...From what it says you can not count your childs ssi as your own income bc it simply is not your income. they are receiving the money in their ss# not your own. You can claim them a dependants though as long aa they are not filing tax and claiming themselves....and at four and three they shouldn't be filing taxes yet. Hope that cleared things up for you.

Angi 4 years ago

So silly question but if my 2 year old son is receiving SSI disability under my claim for full disability and I ran his numbers through turbotax and it says he doesn't have any tax owed and he's not paying taxes on his SSI-D does that mean I don't need to file taxes for him at all???

tuckeredout 4 years ago

My 22 year old son was granted SSI last year. His disability is permanent. He can work part time (minimum wage). Is he considered permanently AND totally disabled based on the grant by the ALJ so that I can claim him as a dependent? Despite the SSI, we definitley provide more than 50% of his financial care.

CPA 4 years ago

This information is wrong. SSI is NOT taxable. The author must have it confused with SSA benefits. In Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities, the IRS explains, "Social security benefits do not include SSI payments, which are not taxable. Do not include these payments in your income."

raggedy ann 4 years ago

Thanks for explaining this topic succinctly. It is very much appreciated!

Kim 4 years ago

I saw a similar question to mine, but I didn't see the answer. I am receiving a full disability pension from SS. My children are receiving benefits under my claim. Do I have to claim their payments as well as my own?

mindi 3 years ago

I just have a question... my son is six months old, he was diagnosed with cortical vision loss and he gets ssi, but I have to pay child support. What would happen? Do I have to pay child support if I'm unemployed and that's my son's money?

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