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Effect of Social Security-Disability on FAFSA

mamabear3mamabear3 Posts: 1Registered User New Member
My ex filed social security/disability and my son receives a monthly check from social security administration. He is a junior in high school but my daughter is a freshman in college. I have seen some posts say that I have to claim the monthly payment as untaxed other income and some say that I don't claim it at all because it is under my son's SSN. Has anyone found which is the true answer? This question applies to government aid as well as university aid so any input will be much appreciated. Thanks!
Post edited by mamabear3 on
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Replies to: Effect of Social Security-Disability on FAFSA

  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 15,013Registered User Senior Member
    deleted - wrong information
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,539Super Moderator Senior Member
    SSI is not reported anywhere on the FAFSA for anyone in the family.

    For regular social security payments: If they are taxed, they are included in the AGI already. If the social security payments are untaxed, the untaxed portion is not reported.
  • pop8ballpop8ball Posts: 2Registered User New Member
    why do they need to know that for, when its the same as you getting or having no money. the federal and state governments can already find that info out with your social security number.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,539Super Moderator Senior Member
    The federal government knows what you really reported for tax info, too. Try getting them to give that away to any other group, though. It's not that easy ...
  • OlymomOlymom Posts: 1,686Registered User Senior Member
    Read through the college website for financial aid very carefully. We found that one school had a supplemental form that asked about taxed and untaxed SS benefits.

    Meanwhile, please direct your question to the FAFSA people. I know of one case where the dependent of the disabled was NOT supposed to be reported but that was a couple of years ago and your case is slightly different (in that an "ex" is involved). Go directly to the FAFSA query/or info about the particular line item where it might be recorded.

    They usually have comprehensive info about each line --and they get back fairly quickly on questions.

    You don't want to "guess" on this. If you guess wrong, it is not the college that suffers -- it is your kid.

    When the kid turns 18, the benefit will stop (unless the kid is still in high school in which case there will be a special set of forms to complete so the benefit continues until HS graduation).

    Hope this helps.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 15,013Registered User Senior Member
    If it is social security (not disability) then it is not reported on FAFSA. My husband is retired and my daughter was receiving social security payments because of that. He first year of college we did have to report her SS and my husbands untaxed social security. The school made a special circumstances adjustment and removed he SS income as it stopped when she graduated high school. Then they changed the rules on FAFSA (last year) and now we do not have to report his untaxed SS. This is for Social Security, not disability payments.

    From the FAFSA instructions at
    Completing the FAFSA: Financial Aid from the U.S. Department of Education
    i. Other untaxed income and benefits. Enter untaxed income or benefits not reported in items 45a through 45h, such as worker’s compensation or disability benefits. Don’t include student aid, earned income credit, additional child tax credit, welfare payments, untaxed Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Workforce Investment Act educational benefits, on-base military housing
    or a military housing allowance, combat pay (if you are not a tax filer), benefits from flexible spending arrangements (for example, cafeteria plans), foreign income exclusion or credit for federal tax on special fuels.

    Kelsmom in post #3 is a financial aid officer who deals with this all the time.

    The above is for FAFSA. I do not know how CSS handles this, and schools with their own aid may have additional requirements.
  • bthomp1bthomp1 Posts: 1,506Registered User Senior Member
    So, the upshot is that nobody knows the answer to the OP's question. She asked about social security disability income, not ssi or social security (the one people qualify for at age 62) . I have not been able to find an answer to this question either. It is absolutely beyond belief that the FAFSA does not address how you treat social security disability income, especially since so many people receive it.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 15,013Registered User Senior Member
    My understanding is that SS Disability income is reported as untaxed income on FAFSA question 45i, untaxed SS pension income is not reported.
    from Your Other Untaxed Income or Benefits
    The total amount of any other untaxed income and benefits that you received in 2009, such as workers compensation, Black Lung Benefits, untaxed portions of Railroad Retirement Benefits, disability, etc.
  • bthomp1bthomp1 Posts: 1,506Registered User Senior Member
    Line 45i is for the student.

    How is the parent's ssdi treated? I can't find that anywhere.

    For line 93i, they do not make a distinction. They treat "disability" 100% differently than "Social Security benefits", but make no attempt at all to clarify what you do with ssdi, which can logically fit into either categoy-- disability OR Social Security benefits:

    Enter the total amount of any other untaxed income or benefits that your parents received in 2009, such as workers compensation, Black Lung Benefits, untaxed portions of Railroad Retirement Benefits, disability, etc.

    Do not include student aid, earned income credit, child tax credit, welfare payments, untaxed Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Workforce Investment Act educational benefits, on-base military housing or military housing allowance, combat pay, benefits from flexible spending arrangements (for example: cafeteria plans), foreign income exclusion or credit for federal tax on special fuels.
    ================
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 15,013Registered User Senior Member
    It is the non custodial parent receiving the disability income so that would not be reported on FAFSA either way. The OP was asking about the SS income the student receives because of that parent. I was confused about whether it is disability or regular SS.

    It is all very confusing. From postings here from FA officers I have understood that disability is reportable, SS pension is not. Until last year it was all reportable, they have made it more confusing now (surprise!). The best thing the OP can do is first ask the FAFSA help line, but then verify with the FA officer at their school. In the end it is the FA officer who verifies the FAFSA data, so what they say is ultimately the final word.
  • bthomp1bthomp1 Posts: 1,506Registered User Senior Member
    I'm interested in how they treat the ssdi of the parent who lives in the household with the spouse and the children as dependents. This has to apply to many, many families. Its unbelievable that they don't address this issue in a clear way. The only thing about asking someone at Fafsa is they they could answer incorrectly. I would rather trust the information that appears on the FAFSA website than info retrieved over the telephone or via e-mail. I will probably call them. What is the big secret, anyway? It should be spelled out on the FAFSA website. It is a straight-forward situation that applies to thousands of people.

    Thanks for your help.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,539Super Moderator Senior Member
    Believe it or not, the clear answer to this question is not contained in the financial aid handbook. "Disability" that is untaxed is addressed. It must be reported. There is nothing that clearly addressed SS disability. I have google searched for it, and have found nothing. To be honest, my work-around has been that it has not made a difference in the EFC for any EFC I personally have verified. So I haven't had to push the issue. I do work with a very low income population & the few SSDIs I have seen are Auto 0 EFC families. Maybe nikkiil has had to deal with this. You can pm her.
  • anomomanomom Posts: 9Registered User New Member
    I too am a single mom and my daughter is getting a monthly payment of SSDI through my ex husband's social security SSDI. I do not make a lot of money and if this is more than half of what I spend on my daughter than can she be declared independent instead of dependent? I am sorry if this is a stupid question but I am new to the ins and outs of FAFSA.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,539Super Moderator Senior Member
    No, your D cannot be considered independent unless she can answer Yes to any of the dependency questions (you can find these by going to FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

    If your AGI is less than $30k AND you can file a 1040A or 1040EZ OR if you or someone in your family has received federal means tested benefits in the last 24 months (including free or reduced lunch) OR if you are a dislocated worker, you will have an Automatic 0 Expected Family Contribution. It doesn't get any better than that for your D.
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Posts: 5,746Registered User Senior Member
    First, let me say that, for 09/10 FAFSA and beyond, untaxed SS benefits of any type (retirement or disability) are not reported for FAFSA. I confirmed this with the FAFSA people, and have filed accordingly and have been verified twice with no issues.

    Anomom, rhe dependency rules for FAFSA are completely different than for tax reporting. If you are low income, it probably doesn't matter whether she's considered dependent or not...a 0 EFC is the same for independents as dependents and the only thing extra available to independent students is an additional $4K in loans. Unless she fits one of these criteria, she is a dependent student:
    For the 2010-2011 award year, a student is automatically determined
    to be an independent applicant for federal student aid if he or she meets one or more of the following criteria:
    • Student was born before January 1, 1987.
    • Student is married or separated (but not divorced) as of the date of the application.
    • At the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, the student will be enrolled in a master’s or
    doctoral degree program (such as MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate,
    etc.).
    • Student is currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, or is a National Guard
    or Reserves enlistee called into federal active duty for other than training purposes.
    • Student is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces (see the definition in the box on page 4).
    • Student has one or more children who receive more than half of their support from him or
    her between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.
    • Student has dependent(s) (other than children or spouse) who live with him or her and who
    receive more than half of their support from the student, now and through June 30, 2011.
    • At any time when the student was age 13 or older, both of the student’s parents were
    deceased, the student was in foster care, or the student was a dependent/ward of the court.
    • The student is now or was upon reaching the age of majority, an emancipated minor
    (released from control by his or her parent or guardian) as determined by a court in his or
    her state of legal residence.
    • The student is now or was upon reaching the age of majority, in legal guardianship as
    determined by a court in his or her state of legal residence.
    • Student was determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless by a high school
    or school district homeless liaison on or after July 1, 2009.
    • Student was determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless by the director
    of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of
    Housing and Urban Development on or after July 1, 2009.
    • Student was determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or was selfsupporting
    and at risk of being homeless by a director of a runaway or homeless youth
    basic center or transitional living program on or after July 1, 2009.
    • Student is determined by the college financial aid administrator to be an unaccompanied
    youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
    An FAA can make a determination of independence with documentation of special
    circumstances, even if the student initially filed as a dependent student.

    http://www.ifap.ed.gov/efcformulaguide/attachments/062810EFCFormulaGuideUpdate1011.pdf
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