Teens & Taxes: What Qualifies a Teen for Social Security Payments & Do They Pay Tax on Their Benefits?
Many people think of Social Security strictly as a retirement benefit. And it’s true that it is a crucial element to many people’s retirement plans, funding roughly 40% of the average person’s retirement expenses. But 29.1% of Social Security beneficiaries in 2021 were not retired workers. These individuals included people who had become disabled and survivors of deceased workers. And millions of them were teens.
In 2019, 2.8 million people under the age of 18 were collecting Social Security benefits, with an average monthly benefit of $627.52, according to a Social Security fact sheet. Additionally, more than 113,000 students ages 18 and 19 were receiving Social Security benefits.
A teen or child may qualify for Social Security payments if they were born blind or disabled, depending on the income of the parents in their household.
If a parent dies, a surviving child may be eligible for their Social Security retirement benefits. The child or teen may receive up to 75% of the deceased parent’s basic Social Security benefit, according to the Social Security Administration. However, a family can only receive a total of 150% to 180% of the deceased parent’s full benefit amount, distributed between all eligible family members.
Social Security benefits above certain thresholds are taxed, and the income should be reported on Form 1040. A teen or child, just like an adult, must file a tax return for their Social Security income if the total of half their Social Security benefits plus all their other income is greater than $25,000. This is the “base amount” that applies to the filing status for single taxpayers.
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