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how do survivor benefits work for social security

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Employee Tax Expert

how do survivor benefits work for social security

Hi @Jdotes 


A child generally won't receive enough additional income to make the child's social security benefits taxable. 


However,  you will need to determine the child's base amount of income.  The child's income is the sum of:

  • 50% of social security benefits plus
  • All of the child's other income, including tax-exempt interest.

The base amount is $25,000 for a single filer.   


If these are spousal Social Security benefits, they may be subject to federal income tax, depending on your total household income for the year. 


To determine whether or not you owe tax, you first have to calculate your total income base and then add half of your annual Social Security benefit to that figure. The tax on your Social Security spousal benefits is in addition to any tax you owe on other income, such as wages from employment, the interest or dividends you earned on investments, and distributions you received from a retirement plans.


If you are filing as single and:

  • your total income is less than $25,000, you would pay no tax on your Social Security benefits.
  • your total income is between $25,000 and $34,000, up to 50% of your benefits would be subject to tax.
  • your income is over $34,000, you could be taxed on up to 85% of your benefits.

Thank you!



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