• James D. Lynch

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program, administered by the Social Security Administration, that pays monthly benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. People who qualify for SSI are also able to receive Medicaid to pay for hospital stays, doctor bills, prescription drugs, and other health costs.

Unlike Social Security benefits, SSI benefits are not based on your prior work history. A person can qualify for SSI even if they don’t have enough of a work history to qualify for Social Security benefits. In addition, SSI is funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes).

To meet the resource requirements, a person must have less than $2,000 (or $3,000 for a couple) in countable resources (see https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-resources-ussi.htm). A person receiving SSI benefits who has a change in resources (such as receiving a large sum of money from an inheritance or personal injury settlement) must report the change to the Social Security Administration 10 days after the end of the month in which the money was received. Severe penalties are imposed for failure to report. The receipt of the inheritance or settlement will likely cause the person’s resource to exceed the $2,000 ceiling. The person will therefore become ineligible for further SSI benefits unless the money is spent on exempt resources in the same month it is received, or the person sets up an ABLE account (if the disability began before the person was 26 years old) or a Special Needs Trust.

The Internal Revenue Service reminds employers and other businesses that January 31 is the filing deadline for submitting wage statements and forms for independent contractors with the government.

Employers must file their copies of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration by January 31. The January 31 deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, filed with the IRS to report non-employee compensation to independent contractors.

Failure to file these forms correctly and timely may result in penalties. Requests for an extension of time to file must be submitted before the due date. Only certain reasons, such as a death or natural disaster, are allowed.

  • James D. Lynch

Many taxpayers are aware that the IRS will never call to demand immediate payment over the phone or call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. To try and trick taxpayers, some scammers are mailing legitimate-looking IRS letters.

An example of a fake IRS letter is pictured below. Some of the telling signs are the following:

● The processing address in Austin is not correct. ● The notice tells the taxpayer to make a check to the IRS when it should be the U.S. Treasury. ● The IRS gives you the right to appeal if you disagree with the tax assessed. The fake letter insists on your payment of the additional tax in spite of your disagreement.

If you get a letter from the IRS that appears it may not be legitimate, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 (as opposed to the number written on the notice) to verify what you might owe.