Question

Are social security survivor benefits taxable — And does it make any difference if my son was adopted?

Answer

Social securitySocial security survivor benefits are paid to children who have a disabled or deceased parent. To qualify, the child needs to be 18 years old or younger – or 19 years old if enrolled full-time in a qualifying school.

Children can get up to 75% of the deceased parent’s social security benefits.

Claiming Social Security Survivor Benefits and Adoption

Does it make a difference if your child was adopted when receiving social security survivor benefits? The answer is: no. It doesn’t make any difference if your child was or wasn’t adopted.

Who Pays Taxes on Social Security Survivor Benefits?Social security survivor benefits for children are taxable income only for the children who are entitled to receive them, even if the checks are issued or direct deposited into an account belonging to the surviving parent or guardian. Most children don’t earn enough to owe tax during a tax year.

If benefits are taxable, as explained below, you’ll report any social security survivor benefits for your child on your child’s return.

How Are Social Security Survivor Benefits Taxed?

A child’s social security survivor benefits are taxed if the child’s provisional income is more than the base amount. Provisional income is the sum of these:

  • 50% of social security benefits
  • Other taxable and tax-exempt income

The base amount is $25,000 for a single filer, $32,000 for married filing jointly or zero for married filing separately.

Where to Go for More Tax Help

Whether you make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable tax pros or choose one of our online tax filing products, you can count on H&R Block to help you get back the most money possible.

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