What tax credits exist for disabled persons?

By: Susan Sherwood
man in wheelchair
People with disabilities -- whether or not they are retired -- as well as parents of children with disabilities, are eligible for the earned income tax credit (EITC), as long as their income is within certain limits.
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It's hard to imagine that someone would want to pay more taxes than are required by law. Tax credits are one way to reduce your tax load. The Internal Revenue Service allows these deductions for specific circumstances. Depending on income, disabled persons are eligible for certain tax credits that can decrease or even discharge their annual tax responsibilities.

On federal tax returns, people with disabilities are entitled to a "credit for the elderly or disabled." This tax credit targets taxpayers over 65, as well as those who retire before age 65 on permanent or total disability. The IRS has instituted maximum income levels for this credit based on whether taxpayers file as single or married. Nontaxable Social Security income and pensions are limited, as well. IRS Schedule R provides instructions to determine your credit, which is reported on Form 1040 or 1040A. For further assistance, the IRS issues Publication 524: Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.


People with disabilities -- whether or not they are retired -- as well as parents of children with disabilities, are eligible for the earned income tax credit (EITC). Again, the credit is allowed only if the taxpayer does not have an adjusted gross income in excess of the year's assigned limit. This amount increases as the number of qualifying children increases. EITC is claimed on Forms 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ, although the EZ version can't be used if the taxpayer has a qualifying child.

A taxpayer who hires a caregiver for a disabled spouse may claim a dependent care credit, which covers a significant amount of the caretaker's wages. This employee must be looking after someone who is physically or mentally incapable of independent living. The credit applies only to wages paid while the taxpayer is either working or seeking employment.

In addition to tax credits, people with disabilities may be entitled to other tax benefits. The standard deduction is greater for some legally blind taxpayers. Supplemental Security Income and certain disability payments are not considered part of a disabled taxpayer's gross income. Some medical expenses and qualifying work-related expenses are deductible. With a little digging, people with disabilities can find tax breaks through credits and other allowances.


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  • IRS. "Publication 524, Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled." Sept. 4, 2014. (Oct. 23, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/uac/Publication-524,-Credit-for-the-Elderly-or-the-Disabled--1
  • IRS. "Publication 907." (Oct. 23, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/publications/p907/ar02.html#en_US_2013_publink10008650
  • IRS. "Tax Benefits for Disabled Taxpayers." Feb. 3, 2011. (Oct. 23, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Benefits-for-Disabled-Taxpayers
  • TurboTax. "What Are Disability Tax Credits?" 2014. (Oct. 23, 2014) https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Tax-Deductions-and-Credits/What-Are-Disability-Tax-Credits-/INF14083.html