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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13282
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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I have been on SSI since 2000. I have 2 questions. 1. I have

Customer Question

I have been on SSI since 2000. I have 2 questions. 1. I have not filed a tax return for the last 15 years as SSI has been my sole income. I got married in July, 2015. My husband is in negotiations with the IRS (offshore money & no taxes) and we will have to file separately. If SSI is still my sole income, do I have to file a return this year, due to my marital status change? 2. My husband will be 65 this May and will file to collect under my Social Security (Spousal benefits). When, and how is the best way to apply? If he applies before April 1st can we file for IRS and apply for benefits at the same time? (I get $1700.00/month, $21,000/yr.)
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

You mention SSI. However, there are no spousal benefits or any other dependent benefits under "SSI", which is the welfare program called Supplemental Security Income administered by the SSA. Do you actually mean Social Security (which is not SSI)?

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

Presuming it IS SS Disability or Retirement (since it is $1700/mo)...

Congratulations on the nuptials! I wish you great happiness.

1) You will want to discuss with your tax advisor the pros and cons of married filing jointly vs. married filing separately. That said, regardless of whether you have to pay taxes on your SS benefits, I recommend we ALL file returns, because the filing of a return triggers the running of the statute of limitations beyond which the IRS can not come back at us claiming we erred in our tax decisions.

2) Whether SS is taxed or not depends on your "combined income" and according to the SSA, it is most likely that if you filed married filing separately, your SS will be taxed. As such, you would want to file a return even if you wouldn't otherwise. See here: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/taxes.html.

3) The best way to apply for spousal depends. Is he computer savvy? He can likely apply right online at http://ssa.gov. Note that if he collects it at 65, he will be accepting a reduced amount due to not waiting for his full retirement age. He may want to wait til age 66.

When he applies is not effected by when he files his IRS taxes this year.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions.

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