Tax changes after age 62?

Question

I have been HIV+ since 1999 and will turn 62 this September. I was approved by my former employer for STD benefits in 2001 and it converted to LTD in 2002. I can continue to receive these LTD benefits until age 65 and it is an employee contribution plan (monthly premiums are withheld for my medical/dental/vision/life & add and minimal taxes for Medicare and SS). In 2002, I applied and was approved for SSDI and my LTD benefit was offset (reduced)by the SSDI amount. In the years since 2002 my federal adjusted gross income has always been less than the standard single deduction. I have a friend who insists that after age 62, my SSDI becomes taxable income and I will need to arrange for voluntary tax withholding if I want to avoid owing taxes when I file my tax returns each year, going forward. I live in Arizona, is that makes any difference. Is my friend right and I need to make an adjustment after September?

Answer

I don't know how the State of Arizona handles Social Security payments under state income tax, however, that is certainly not the case with federal taxes. Social Security payments are all handled the same way by the IRS whether they are retirement, disability, survivor, or SSI benefits. Rather than provide a special tax rate for Social Security benefits, the IRS taxes only a portion of your Social Security payments based on your total income when filing taxes. Your total Social Security benefits will never be taxed. Based on your "combined income" you will pay taxes on zero, 50% or 85% of your Social Security benefits. It also depends on whether you file as an individual or jointly. For more details, go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/taxes.htm