Photographs of missing children.(p1)
The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.
If you qualify, you may be able to reduce the tax you owe by taking the credit for the elderly or the disabled.
This publication explains:
- Who qualifies for the credit for the elderly or the disabled, and
- How to figure the credit.
You may be able to take the credit for the elderly or the disabled if:
- You are age 65 or older, or
- You retired on permanent and total disability and have taxable disability income.
We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
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Internal Revenue Service
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If you have a tax question, check the information available on www.irs.gov
or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.
You may want to see:
Publication 554 Tax Guide for Seniors 967 The IRS Will Figure Your Tax Forms (and instructions) Schedule R (Form 1040): Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled Schedule 3 (Form 1040A): Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled for Form 1040A Filers taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038670
See How To Get Tax Help
near the end of this publication, for information about getting these publications and forms.
You can take the credit for the elderly or the disabled if you meet both of the following requirements.
- You are a qualified individual.
- Your income is not more than certain limits.
You can use Figures A and B as guides to see if you are eligible for the credit. Use Figure A first to see if you are a qualified individual. If you are, go to Figure B to make sure your income is not too high to take the credit.
You can take the credit only if you file Form 1040 or Form 1040A. You cannot take the credit if you file Form 1040EZ.
You are a qualified individual for this credit if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, and either of the following applies.
- You were age 65 or older at the end of 2008.
- You were under age 65 at the end of 2008 and all three of the following statements are true.
- You retired on permanent and total disability (explained later).
- You received taxable disability income for 2008.
- On January 1, 2008, you had not reached mandatory retirement age (defined later under Disability income.).
You are considered to be age 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. Therefore, if you were born on January 1, 1944, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2008.taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038674
You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien (or be treated as a resident alien) to take the credit. Generally, you cannot take the credit if you were a nonresident alien at any time during the tax year. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038675
You may be able to take the credit if you are a nonresident alien who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the tax year and you and your spouse choose to treat you as a U.S. resident alien. If you make that choice, both you and your spouse are taxed on your worldwide incomes.
If you were a nonresident alien at the beginning of the year and a resident alien at the end of the year, and you were married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the year, you may be able to choose to be treated as a U.S. resident alien for the entire year. In that case, you may be allowed to take the credit.
For information on these choices, see chapter 1 of Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038676
Generally, if you are married at the end of the tax year, you and your spouse must file a joint return to take the credit. However, if you and your spouse did not live in the same household at any time during the tax year, you can file either joint or separate returns and still take the credit. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038677
You can file as head of household and qualify to take the credit, even if your spouse lived with you during the first 6 months of the year, if you meet all the following tests.
- You file a separate return.
- You paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home during the tax year.
- Your spouse did not live in your home at any time during the last 6 months of the tax year and the absence was not temporary. (See Temporary absences in Publication 501.)
- Your home was the main home of your child, stepchild, or an eligible foster child for more than half the year. An eligible foster child is a child placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.
- You can claim an exemption for that child, or you cannot claim the exemption only because a decree of divorce or separate maintenance or written separation agreement that applies to 2008 provides that the noncustodial parent can claim the child as a dependent (and, in the case of a pre-1985 agreement, the noncustodial parent provides at least $600 for the support of the child during the year) or you, the custodial parent, sign a written declaration that you will not claim the child as a dependent for the year.
For more information on head of household and other filing statuses, see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.
If you are under age 65 at the end of 2008, you can qualify for the credit only if you are retired on permanent and total disability (discussed next) and have taxable disability income (discussed later under Disability income.
). You are retired on permanent and total disability if:
- You were permanently and totally disabled when you retired, and
- You retired on disability before the close of the tax year.
Even if you do not retire formally, you may be considered retired on disability when you have stopped working because of your disability.
If you retired on disability before 1977, and were not permanently and totally disabled at the time, you can qualify for the credit if you were permanently and totally disabled on January 1, 1976, or January 1, 1977.
You are considered to be under age 65 at the end of 2008 if you were born after January 1, 1944.
You are permanently and totally disabled if you cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of your physical or mental condition. A physician must certify that the condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for 12 months or more, or that the condition can be expected to result in death. See Physician's statement,
Substantial gainful activity is the performance of significant duties over a reasonable period of time while working for pay or profit, or in work generally done for pay or profit. Full-time work (or part-time work done at your employer's convenience) in a competitive work situation for at least the minimum wage conclusively shows that you are able to engage in substantial gainful activity.
Substantial gainful activity is not work you do to take care of yourself or your home. It is not unpaid work on hobbies, institutional therapy or training, school attendance, clubs, social programs, and similar activities. However, doing this kind of work may show that you are able to engage in substantial gainful activity.
The fact that you have not worked for some time is not, of itself, conclusive evidence that you cannot engage in substantial gainful activity.
The following examples illustrate the tests of substantial gainful activity.taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038682
Trisha, a sales clerk, retired on disability. She is 53 years old and now works as a full-time babysitter for the minimum wage. Even though Trisha is doing different work, she is able to do the duties of her new job in a full-time competitive work situation for the minimum wage. She cannot take the credit because she is able to engage in substantial gainful activity. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038683
Tom, a bookkeeper, retired on disability. He is 59 years old and now drives a truck for a charitable organization. He sets his own hours and is not paid. Duties of this nature generally are performed for pay or profit. Some weeks he works 10 hours, and some weeks he works 40 hours. Over the year he averages 20 hours a week. The kind of work and his average hours a week conclusively show that Tom is able to engage in substantial gainful activity. This is true even though Tom is not paid and he sets his own hours. He cannot take the credit. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038684
John, who retired on disability, took a job with a former employer on a trial basis. The purpose of the job was to see if John could do the work. The trial period lasted for 6 months during which John was paid the minimum wage. Because of John's disability, he was assigned only light duties of a nonproductive "make-work" nature. The activity was gainful because John was paid at least the minimum wage. But the activity was not substantial because his duties were nonproductive. These facts do not, by themselves, show that John is able to engage in substantial gainful activity. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100073480taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038686
Joan, who retired on disability from a job as a bookkeeper, lives with her sister who manages several motel units. Joan helps her sister for 1 or 2 hours a day by performing duties such as washing dishes, answering phones, registering guests, and bookkeeping. Joan can select the time of day when she feels most fit to work. Work of this nature, performed off and on during the day at Joan's convenience, is not activity of a "substantial and gainful" nature even if she is paid for the work. The performance of these duties does not, of itself, show that Joan is able to engage in substantial gainful activity. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038687
Certain work offered at qualified locations to physically or mentally impaired persons is considered sheltered employment. These qualified locations are in sheltered workshops, hospitals and similar institutions, homebound programs, and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sponsored homes.
Compared to commercial employment, pay is lower for sheltered employment. Therefore, one usually does not look for sheltered employment if he or she can get other employment. The fact that one has accepted sheltered employment is not proof of the person's ability to engage in substantial gainful activity. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038688
If you are under age 65, you must have your physician complete a statement certifying that you were permanently and totally disabled on the date you retired. You can use the statement in the instructions for Schedule R (Form 1040) or Schedule 3 (Form 1040A).
You do not have to file this statement with your Form 1040 or Form 1040A, but you must keep it for your records. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038689
If the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) certifies that you are permanently and totally disabled, you can substitute VA Form 21-0172, Certification of Permanent and Total Disability, for the physician's statement you are required to keep. VA Form 21-0172 must be signed by a person authorized by the VA to do so. You can get this form from your local VA regional office. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038690
If you got a physician's statement in an earlier year and, due to your continued disabled condition, you were unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity during 2008, you may not need to get another physician's statement for 2008. For a detailed explanation of the conditions you must meet, see the instructions for Part II of Schedule R (Form 1040) or Schedule 3 (Form 1040A). If you meet the required conditions, check the box on line 2 of Part II of Schedule R (Form 1040) or Schedule 3 (Form 1040A).
If you checked box 4, 5, or 6 in Part I of either Schedule R or Schedule 3, enter in the space above the box on line 2 in Part II the first name(s) of the spouse(s) for whom the box is checked. taxmap/pubs/p524-000.htm#en_us_publink100038691
If you are under age 65, you must also have taxable disability income to qualify for the credit. Disability income must meet both of the following requirements.
- It must be paid under your employer's accident or health plan or pension plan.
- It must be included in your income as wages (or payments instead of wages) for the time you are absent from work because of permanent and total disability.
Any payment you receive from a plan that does not provide for disability retirement is not disability income. Any lump-sum payment for accrued annual leave that you receive when you retire on disability is a salary payment and is not disability income.
For purposes of the credit for the elderly or the disabled, disability income does not include amounts you receive after you reach mandatory retirement age. Mandatory retirement age is the age set by your employer at which you would have had to retire, had you not become disabled.
Table 1. Initial Amounts
|IF your filing status is...|| ||THEN enter on line 10 of Schedule R (Form 1040) or Schedule 3 (Form 1040A)...|
|single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child and, by the end of 2008, you were || || |
| ||•||65 or older||$5,000|
| ||•||under 65 and retired on permanent and total disability1||$5,000|
|married filing a joint return and by the end of 2008 || || |
| ||•||both of you were 65 or older||$7,500|
| ||•||both of you were under 65 and one of you retired on permanent and total disability1||$5,000|
| ||•||both of you were under 65 and both of you retired on permanent and total disability2||$7,500|
| ||•||one of you was 65 or older, and the other was under 65 and retired on permanent |
and total disability3
| ||•||one of you was 65 or older, and the other was under 65 and not retired on permanent |
and total disability
|married filing a separate return and you did not live with your spouse at any time during the year and, by the end of 2008, you were || || |
| ||•||65 or older||$3,750|
| ||•||under 65 and retired on permanent and total disability1||$3,750|
| ||1 Amount cannot be more than the taxable disability income. || |
| ||2 Amount cannot be more than your combined taxable disability income. || |
| ||3 Amount is $5,000 plus the taxable disability income of the spouse under age 65, but not more than $7,500. || |
To determine if you can claim the credit, you must consider two income limits. The first limit is the amount of your adjusted gross income (AGI). The second limit is the amount of nontaxable social security and other nontaxable pensions you received. The limits are shown in Figure B.
If both your AGI and your nontaxable pensions are less than the income limits, you may be able to claim the credit. See Figuring the Credit Yourself,
If either your AGI or your nontaxable pensions are equal to or more than the income limits, you cannot take the credit.