Will I get the child tax credit if I receive Social Security benefits?

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — With the American Rescue Plan changes to the child tax credit, some are wondering if they are eligible or not if they receive Social Security benefits.

The American Rescue Plan, passed in March, increases the child tax credit from a maximum of $2,000 to as much as $3,600 per child and will include the option for families to receive monthly installments.

If my only income was Social Security benefits, can I claim the child tax credit?

It depends. If your benefits are taxable, then you can claim the child tax credit.

According to the Social Security Administration, you pay 85% of your Social Security benefits if you:

  • file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income* is
    • between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
    • more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
    • between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
    • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • are married and file a separate tax return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.

The child tax credit will reduce the tax owed, so it needs some taxable income from Social Security to be applied to. The additional child tax credit can only be claimed on earned income, so you need to make money outside of Social Security benefits.

The IRS has a tool built to determine your eligibility for the child tax credit.

According to the IRS, you may also use your 2019 earned income to figure your additional child tax credit if your 2019 earned income is more than your 2020 earned income.

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