When is Social Security taxable?

Ask NJMoneyHelp

Photo: pixabay.com

Q. I am disabled and have gotten a Social Security check for the past 17 years since I was age 36. I’ve been divorced for six years and my ex works for the government. In our divorce decree, I get $3,000 per month. Does this cause taxation of my Social Security check?
— Unsure

A. Whether or not your benefits will be taxed will depend on several issues.

We’d need to know a little more than you shared to give you an accurate answer.

Among the information we’d need is how much you receive from Social Security, whether the $3,000 is your total income or if that’s just your alimony, and whether you have any additional income from other sources, said Cynthia Aiken, a certified financial planner with RegentAtlantic in Morristown.

We’re going to assume that you file as single, head of household or married filing separately — and you lived apart from your spouse all year.

If half of your Social Security income plus all your other income is less than $25,000, then none of your Social Security income is taxable, Aiken said.

If half of your Social Security income plus all your other income is between $25,000 and $34,000, up to 50 percent of your Social Security income is taxable.

And if half of your Social Security income plus all your other income is more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your Social Security income is taxable, she said.

“If your total annual income from all sources is your Social Security income plus $36,000 from your ex-spouse — $3,000 per month — then up to 85 percent of your Social Security income is taxable,” Aiken said. “Best advice is to gather all the documents related to your taxable income — Social Security payments, alimony and other income — and consult a tax professional.”

Email your questions to moc.p1537310875leHye1537310875noMJN1537310875@ksA1537310875.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.