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How to File When Your Child Receives SSI Benefits
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 U.S. 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 Dependent Child Have to Pay Taxes on SSI Benefits?
It depends on whether they received other income or not.
- If your child earned income with a part-time job, then at least some of his or her 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 or she 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 your child's income, not yours. You can't claim it as income, and you aren't responsible for paying any taxes on it.
Can I Claim My Child as a Dependent if They Received SSI?
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 or she files their own tax return they 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 your child as a dependent even if he or she 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.
- Child Support Payments and the SSI Program
- Are Social Security Disability Benefits Taxable?
- Social Security Administration:What You Need To Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Cynthia on May 05, 2020:
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My kid is 17 and is on ssi disability. Will he be able to get stemulas check as a dependent and i dont no how to file
Linda on March 26, 2020:
My daughter is a single parent of 2 young children and is on SSDI. Can she file taxes for herself or for her 2 young children to get the child tax credit?
Julie on March 01, 2020:
Our son was just disabled Thur Ssi. Can we claim him for last year as dependent. 23 years old
Kara on February 11, 2020:
My exhusband ask all time claim my kids i have full cusdty my kids dont visit plus hes remarried and new kid he claims
Chris Crovatt on January 14, 2020:
I'm 51, on SSDI & live with my mom, who I pay "rent". I have to pay out so much $ in medical bills, as I don't have MEDICAID. Can she claim ME as a dependent and claim HOH status, WITHOUT MY BENEFITS BEING AFFECTED? Helps her but not me..
TERESA L CANTRELL on April 18, 2019:
My son is not even with me so how am I being audited I live my dad Jim James Carroll Gardner he is my roommate I collect SSI and that's it
Hary on March 05, 2019:
My father is getting SSI about $770. He has no other source of income. He is renting a room in my house for about $450/month for the last 5 years. I am claiming him as my dependent on my tax returns. Is it OK. I recently receive a form called “Statement of Claimant or Other person” for me to filled out from Social Security. They a want to know if my dad is getting any rental subsidy so they can reduce SSI or completely eliminate it. Am I in trouble i pay lot of medical bills for my dad which are not covered by medicaid. I have been claiming him as dependent for many years, Can Social Security ask for my tax returns or my dad’s. he doesn’t file taxes because i claim him as dependent. Any responses appreciated. Thanks
Chris on August 24, 2018:
I am getting SSDI and my child gets half my amount. I just married her dad who makes as much as her a year. Can he claim her as a dependent and do we have to file a joint return. He made around 10,000 I made 22,000 and her about 10,000. So confused
annette on April 11, 2018:
I have a 26 yo special needs daughter. We do claim her on taxes, and yes she receives SSI. Is there any benefit to filing taxes for her? Or is that even an option? May sound stupid but the whole thing confuses me
Michelle on February 10, 2018:
The father of my two kids, who both receive SSI, pays child support and wants to claim them on his tax return as he has done every year. Will him claiming my two kids, affect their disability?
Ssi question on April 25, 2017:
Years ago I was living with my mother in law and she asked if she could claim them as dependents one of them I recieve ssi for him and now she's asking me for there birthdates I think she's trying to claim them without my permission what can I do ??
Gatordog on November 14, 2016:
My son is on ssi. He got in July 2016 and is 25. How do they qualify as a disability dependent to claim on my taxes? He does not have any other income.
mindi on April 25, 2013:
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?
Kim on March 06, 2012:
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?
raggedy ann on February 17, 2012:
Thanks for explaining this topic succinctly. It is very much appreciated!
CPA on February 07, 2012:
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."
tuckeredout on February 06, 2012:
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.
Angi on February 03, 2012:
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???
Katie on February 02, 2012:
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.
Tracey on January 24, 2012:
This website is very helpful...Thanks!
cathy on January 23, 2012:
Thank you answered all my questions from the ssi for my child to the child support!!! Bravo!!!
Amber on January 19, 2012:
Thank you so much!! This information was very helpful!
deee on January 10, 2012:
helpful soooo much!:)
candy on January 07, 2012:
I have 3 and 4 year old sons who get ssi and I work part time do I put there ssi on my taxes
Samantha on December 03, 2011:
Thanks! So clear and concise!
nina1986 on September 09, 2011:
very helpful information thank you so much
*lisa* on January 19, 2011:
Very informative. Thanks!
Bobbi on January 19, 2011:
Very helpful, thanks so much!
Chrystal Mahan from Michigan on January 19, 2011: