According to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines, certain portions of your benefits may require you to file taxes. You may have to file taxes on disability income if “the total of (1) one-half of your benefits, plus (2) all of your other income, including tax-exempt interest, is greater than the base amount for your filing status.” IRS base amounts are calculated as follows:
- $25,000 – single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
- $25,000 – married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year
- $32,000 – married filing jointly
- $0 – married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year
Married couples who file joint tax returns are required to combine their income and Social Security benefits to determine the portion of their benefits that are taxable. A Social Security lawyer can help you determine your taxable income and how your disability benefits affect your taxable income and filing status.
How the Social Security Administration (SSA) Decides If You Are Disabled
When Social Security Administration (SSA) officials receive your application for disability benefits, they review it to see if you meet the basic criteria. If you do, they continue by reviewing your work history. If you have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for benefits, they forward your application to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
At that point, your application is reviewed to determine your disability. Officials will then request more information about your disabling condition, With this information, they will study the facts in your case – including examining the evidence and documentation you present to support your inability to work and your need for disability benefits.
The Five-Step Process for Qualification
Your state will use a five-step process to decide whether you do or do not qualify for benefits. This process includes answering questions that pertain to the following topics:
- If you work and how much you earn
- How severe and debilitating your condition is
- If your medical condition is on the impairment list
- If you can continue to perform the same work as before you became disabled
- If you can learn to perform another type of work
The qualifications are different if you are blind or legally blind. Your Social Security lawyer will be able to explain the criteria in full and help you determine your likelihood of qualifying. A lawyer will also tell you what happens when you are approved for benefits and how to file an appeal if you are denied.
You can also qualify even if your condition is not listed on the list of eligible impairments. The SSA can calculate your Residual Functional Capacity to determine your possible benefits.
Receiving Payment When Your Application Is Approved
The processing of your application can take time. According to SSA guidelines, it can take between three and five months for a decision to be made on your benefits application.
If you are approved for disability benefits, you will receive an approval letter. This letter will contain important information, including your payment amount and the date you can expect your payments to start. If your application for benefits is denied, you can file an appeal and keep fighting for the disability benefits you deserve.
You Can Appeal a Denied Benefits Claim
Some men and women who apply for disability benefits will receive a denial letter. If that happens to you, you do not have to accept the denial without putting up a fight. In fact, Social Security Administration regulations dictate how you can appeal a denial. Additionally, a Social Security lawyer can help guide you through the appeals process.
The appeals process happens in four steps:
- Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge
- Review by the Appeals Council
- Federal Court review
A lawyer will explain each step of the appeals process and make sure you present the strongest possible case for approval. Their goal will be to try to help you receive the benefits you are entitled to – even if your initial claim is denied.
Get the Disability Benefits You Deserve
Our legal team is committed to the success of your disability application or appeal. We are also committed to helping you know when you do and do not have to file taxes on disability income. Get the help, guidance, and support you need through this complicated process.
Contact the client intake team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers today. Our goal is to allow you to focus on getting better while we take care of everything else.