February 29, 2024

Now that tax season has begun, some Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries might find themselves needing to file a tax return this year, but it depends on whether they had other sources of income in 2023. We’ll explain below.

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About a third of SSDI beneficiaries are required to pay federal income taxes on their benefits. That could include you if you earn a sizable wage aside from your benefits. 

If you do have to file a tax return, you’re likely wondering how much you’ll be taxed and when you’ll get a statement with all the details you’ll need to file. We’ll help you find out below. We do recommend checking with a tax expert for guidance. For more, here’s the SSDI payment schedule.

Do I need to file taxes if I receive SSDI?

You might. Here’s how to find out. Take the amount of SSDI money you received in 2023 and divide it in half. For instance, if you received $18,000 in SSDI benefits (or $1,500 per month), half of that would be $9,000. Next, if you get money from other sources, such as a job or dividends, that money you earned would be added to the $9,000. Say you made $20,000 from a job, plus $9,000, that would total $29,000.

If the amount of income earned plus your SSDI payment exceeds the base amount, part of your SSDI money would be considered taxable and you’ll need to file taxes. Here’s how it breaks down, depending on how you file your taxes.

  • Single, head of household or a qualifying surviving spouse: $25,000.
  • Married filing jointly: $32,000.
  • Married filing separately (and lived apart from your spouse): $25,000.
  • Married filing separately (and lived with your spouse): $0.

If your income falls below these base amounts, you are not required to file your taxes. Additionally, if you receive Supplemental Security Income, this does not count toward the base since it’s not taxable.

How much will I be taxed?

If your income plus half your SSDI benefits exceeds the base amount listed above, you’ll have to pay taxes. Here’s how much you could be taxed, per the IRS.

You could pay income tax on up to 50% of your benefits if:

  • You file a federal tax return as an individual and your combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000.
  • You file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income between $32,000 and $44,000.

You could pay income tax on up to 85% of your benefits if:

  • You file a federal tax return as an individual and your combined income is higher than $34,000.
  • You file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income that is higher than $44,000.

Should I still file my taxes even if I’m not required to?

It depends on whether you could receive a tax refund by filing. For instance, if you have any tax deductions that you could benefit from, including the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, you could get a significant amount of money back by filing. 

Additionally, if you had federal tax income withheld from your paycheck or if you made estimated tax payments in 2023, a tax return could help you receive a tax refund. 

Where can I find my SSDI benefit amount for 2023? 

This month, you should have received a 2023 benefits statement in the mail from the Social Security Administration. If you can’t find the letter, the information should also be available online if you have a My Social Security account.

For more information, here’s what you need to know about the 2024 Social Security COLA increase.