By Darlynda Bogle, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications
It’s tax season once again. It’s important to read this blog even if your earnings or benefits don’t require you to file a federal tax return. You may be entitled to special tax credits that can mean extra cash to help you with expenses. These tax credits are available even if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and don’t normally file a tax return.
The Child Tax Credit
What is the Child Tax Credit (CTC)?
The CTC is a tax benefit, expanded in March 2021, that helps families who are raising children. You can claim the CTC for any qualifying child even if you don’t usually file a federal tax return. You can get up to $3,600 per qualifying child under age 6, and up to $3,000 for each qualifying child age 6 – 17. These ages are determined as of December 31, 2021.
Am I eligible for the CTC if I get Social Security or SSI?
Yes, if you meet the qualifying rules of the CTC. You can claim this credit from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) based on each of your qualifying children, even if you get Social Security or SSI and don’t normally file a tax return. You also may have received up to half of your credit through advance monthly CTC payments made by the IRS from July to December 2021. For more information about advance monthly CTC payments, you can visit ChildTaxCredit.gov and the IRS 2021 CTC and Advance CTC Payments Frequently Asked Questions.
Will advance monthly CTC payments, or any CTC I claim on my tax return, reduce my Social Security or SSI benefits?
Advance monthly CTC payments, as well as any CTC that you claim on your 2021 tax return, won’t reduce your Social Security benefits.
If you receive SSI, we won’t count the CTC (or any advance monthly payments you might have received during 2021) as income or resources for 12 months after you receive it when considering your eligibility for SSI and monthly SSI payment amount. If you received any advance monthly CTC payments, be aware of when you received them. You can get that information from the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal.
How do I claim the CTC?
You can claim the CTC when you file your federal tax return for 2021. You can visit ChildTaxCredit.gov for options to file a federal tax return for free.
What if I have questions about the CTC?
Please visit ChildTaxCredit.gov and read IRS Filing Season 2021 CTC Questions and Answers if you have questions. Social Security can’t answer CTC questions.
The Earned Income Tax Credit
What is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?
The EITC provides low- to moderate-income workers and families a tax break. If you qualify, you can use the credit to reduce the taxes you owe – and maybe increase your refund. The EITC amount you might get generally depends on your earned income and the number of your qualifying children.
Am I eligible for the EITC if I get Social Security or SSI?
Yes, if you meet the qualifying rules of the EITC. Receiving Social Security or SSI doesn’t affect your eligibility for the EITC.
Do my Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI payments count as earned income for the EITC?
Learn if your disability payments count as earned income for the EITC at the IRS’ Disability and the Earned Income Tax Credit webpage.
How do I claim the EITC?
To claim the EITC, you must qualify and file a federal tax return. You can visit ChildTaxCredit.gov for options to file a federal tax return for free.
What if I have questions about the EITC?
Learn more about the EITC, including basic qualifications, at the IRS’ Earned Income Tax Credit webpage. Social Security can’t answer EITC questions.
Your Annual Social Security Benefit Statement
What is the Benefit Statement and what do I do with it?
Your Benefit Statement is a tax form from Social Security that shows the total amount of Social Security benefits you received in the previous year. It’s also referred to as an SSA-1099. Noncitizens who live outside of the United States receive the SSA-1042S instead of the SSA-1099. You should report the amount of Social Security income you received to the IRS on your federal tax return.
The Benefit Statement isn’t available for people who only receive SSI payments because SSI payments aren’t taxed.
How do I get my annual benefit statement?
If you receive Social Security benefits, we mailed your Benefit Statement to your address on file with us. If you didn’t receive it, or if lost, you can get your SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S instantly online with a my Social Security account.
Remember to Check your Earnings History
If you don’t receive Social Security benefits, this is a great time to review your earnings history by looking at your Social Security Statement (Statement). It’s important because your future Social Security benefits will be based on your earnings history we received from the IRS. Underreported earnings will mean lower monthly benefit payments when you are ready to start receiving them.
Use your Statement to review your earnings history and to see personalized benefit estimates so you can plan for your future.
Tax season doesn’t have to be a stressful time of year. And for many people, it’s an opportunity to claim additional money. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, more Americans can claim larger Child Tax Credits and Earned Income Tax Credits for 2021.
Please share this blog with family and friends and remember that Social Security is here to help secure your today and tomorrow.