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What is a lump-sum Social Security payment?

SOLVEDby TurboTax1721Updated December 15, 2023

A lump-sum payment is a one-time Social Security payment that you received for prior-year benefits. For example, when someone is granted disability benefits they'll receive a lump sum to cover the entire time since they first applied for disability. This period could cover months or years.

The similar-sounding $255 lump-sum death benefit payment from Social Security is different. This is not a lump sum for tax purposes.

After you enter your SSA-1099 information, we'll ask if you received a lump-sum Social Security payment. If you didn't receive one, answer No and move on.

If you did, answer Yes and follow the instructions. Your SSA-1099 lump-sum section breaks down the payments into what amount was received for each preceding year. You can only enter one year at a time. If you need to enter benefits received for a different tax year, select Add another lump-sum payment.

While your lump sum may include benefit payments for more than one year, you do not have to file an amended tax return for any prior year. You might need to pay taxes on a small portion of your lump-sum payment. However, you might be able to avoid these taxes by apportioning prior year benefits to those previous years’ income (still without filing any amended returns).

After you enter your lump-sum Social Security payment information, TurboTax will automatically figure what, if any, taxes you owe due to the lump-sum payment.

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