How to File Taxes When One's Child Receives Social Security Benefits

Even though you collected the benefits to support your child, you can't claim your child's benefits on your own taxes.

Even though you collected the benefits to support your child, you can't claim your child's benefits on your own taxes.

Generally, adults collect Social Security benefits, but a child can also collect benefits if a parent is retired, disabled or deceased. When you file your own income taxes, the obvious scenario is that you have to claim your own child’s benefits on your own income taxes – but this isn’t the case. Generally, a child won’t collect enough Social Security benefits to file, but if one-half his benefits, plus any additional income, exceed $25,000, you’ll have to file a separate return for your child. You likely won't get a disability tax refund, but you will see a benefit if you don't have to claim taxes on any SSI income you or your child receives.

Claiming a Dependent Who Receives SSI

To determine if you need to complete an SSA 1099 for Child, you need to use the IRS-provided work sheet. Fill in your own tax information as usual. Grab the 1040 instructions and fill in the Social Security Benefits Work Sheet. The total amount of benefits your child received is located in Box 5 of Form SSA-1099, which you should’ve received from the Social Security Administration. After you’ve entered all the information on the work sheet and calculated the total, if the amount on the last line is zero, your child doesn’t have to file. If his wages exceeded $5,950 or he collected more than $950 from any other source, he still has to file taxes but he can exclude the benefits from his income. Complete form 1040, but don't check either box in the Exceptions section because you can claim him as a dependent. You'll enter any benefits collected in the first field on Form 1040, on the line labeled, "Social Security Benefits."

SSI Dependent Exceptions

To determine whether your SSI disability dependents benefits are taxable, you'll compare the base amount for the child's filing status to the amount of the income being received. If half her income plus the Social Security benefits are greater than $25,000, she'll need to file. If she receives no income whatsoever outside of the benefits, she's free and clear.

2018 Tax Laws

There are no changes to the child Social Security benefits tax laws for the 2018 year. However, don't count on any annual child disability tax credit just yet. Experts are warning that there could be changes to the program in the coming years to account for expected shortages in the program's resources, so it's important to be prepared.

2017 Tax Laws

In 2017, you were directed to look at the amount your dependent made to determine whether income was taxable or not. If the Social Security income was a result of survivor benefits and the child's parent was a beneficiary, as well, the child's portion should be separated out before figuring out the taxability of each portion of the total Social Security payout. Claiming a dependent who receives SSI can add a few additional steps, but once you have the process down, you'll be able to carry it from one year to the next with ease.

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About the Author

Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.

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