What Is the Federal Tax Credit for Senior or Disabled Taxpayers?

FT Contributor  | 

The tax credit for seniors and disabled taxpayers is for qualifying taxpayers who are above the age of 65 or are retired due to disability. Publication 524 provides the necessary paperwork for the credit. Those eligible must have an adjusted gross income or a total of nontaxable Social Security payments, pensions, annuities, or disability income payments that fall under specific limits. The credit for these individuals ranges from $3,750 and $7,500.

Seniors Who Qualify for the Tax Credit

You must be above the age of 65 to qualify. If you have a spouse, they must file jointly. If you file as head of household, you are eligible for this tax credit. If you are filing because of a disability, you must supply a certification form from your physician that states your inability to engage in gainful activity due to a physical or mental condition that has lasted or is expected to last a year or more. In some cases, the condition may be expected to result in death.

Income Requirements

Not everyone over the age of 65 or suffering from a disability qualifies for this tax credit. Certain income requirements must be met. If your taxable income exceeds a certain amount, you are ineligible for the senior tax credit. These income restraints vary depending on your filing status and total taxable income.

Below is a breakdown of the income limitations for the federal tax credit for seniors and disabled taxpayers.

Filing Status AGI Nontaxable Social Security and Other Nontaxable Pensions
Single, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child $17,500 $5,000
Married, Filing a Joint Return (and Both Spouses Qualify) $25,000 $7,500
Married, Filing a Joint Return (and Only One Spouse Qualifies) $20,000 $5,000
Married, Filing a Separate Return $12,500 $3,750

People With Disabilities Who Qualify for the Tax Credit

To obtain this tax credit, you must provide proof of a qualifying disability. A doctor must provide information on the physical or mental condition that prevents you from participating in gainful activity. Similarly, a disability that is expected to end in death will qualify you for this credit.

Furthermore, you must have been permanently or totally disabled prior to retirement, you must receive taxable disability income during the year, and you must be younger than your employer’s mandatory retirement age before the start of the next tax year.

Income Requirements

The income requirements for someone with a disability filing for this tax credit are the same as those above, which qualify a senior. To qualify, you must fall into one of these categories:

Filing Status AGI Nontaxable Social Security and Other Nontaxable Pensions
Single, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child $17,500 $5,000
Married, Filing a Joint Return (and Both Spouses Qualify) $25,000 $7,500
Married, Filing a Joint Return (and Only One Spouse Qualifies) $20,000 $5,000
Married, Filing a Separate Return $12,500 $3,750

Similar Tax Credits and Resources

As a senior or a person living with a disability, you may qualify for additional tax credits or deductions. The government provides a variety of resources to help people with disabilities and the elderly. Below are a few tax credits similar to the tax credit for seniors and disabled taxpayers. Read on to see which (if any) you may qualify for.

  1. Medicaid: Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to children, pregnant women, parents, seniors, and those with disabilities. Depending on the coverage you are eligible for, Medicaid may provide funds for hospitalization, co-pays, medical equipment, an insurance plan, or the cost of prescription drugs.
  2. Medicare: Medicare is the federal health insurance program for taxpayers over 65, those with disabilities, or people with end-stage renal disease. Medicare helps cover hospital stays, hospice care, doctor’s visits, outpatient care, and prescription drugs, among other medical needs.
  3. PACE: Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps people meet their health care needs in their community instead of a nursing home or other care facility. This program is available to taxpayers 55 years of age or older.
  4. Higher standard deductions: Certain taxpayers may qualify for higher tax deductions based on age or disability. Taxpayers who are 65 years or older may increase their standard deduction if they file single or head of household. If the taxpayer is married filing jointly and their spouse is 65 years or older, their standard deduction may increase as well. If both spouses are 65 or older, they may increase their deduction. Similarly, blind taxpayers qualify for an increase in their deductions.
  5. Tax Counseling for the Elderly: The government provides a Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), a free tax assistance program for taxpayers 60 years of age or older.
  6. WOTC: Certain employers will hire the elderly in order to obtain the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which is available to employers that hire individuals from targeted groups, such as military veterans or those who are collecting Social Security.
  7. Disabled Access Credit: The Disabled Access Credit provides a non-refundable credit for small businesses that incur expenditures to provide access to those with disabilities.

There are a variety of tax credits and resources available to senior citizens and the disabled. Even if you don’t qualify for the federal tax credit for senior or disabled taxpayers, you may still be eligible for other tax credits. Conduct research or speak to a tax professional to learn more about your tax credit eligibility.


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This post was updated December 12, 2019. It was originally published December 12, 2019.