Can the IRS garnish my SSI checks from back taxes owed ?

Asked over 1 year ago - Farmington, MI

Ive been geting ssi since 2008 . do i have to file a tax statment for that income

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Venar Raad Ayar


    Contributor Level 7


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No to both. The IRS cannot garnish SSI checks, and the income is not taxable. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is different from Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD). SSI is a need-based program designed for people who cannot afford to make ends meet, can't work due to a disability, and haven't earned enough Social Security Credits to qualify for regular Social Security Disability Benefits.

    However, if what you are receiving is SSD income, which is not need-based, and only requires that you are disabled and have earned enough social security credits to qualify, then you would probably have to file tax returns, and the income is subject to garnishments.

    As with all advice posted on a public forum, my advice is not to be relied upon. Given the limited set of facts... more
  2. Peyton Hunley Robinson

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No, not your SSI. They can levy on other social security payments or other assets, but not SSI (prohibited by 42 USC 407). You do not have to file a tax return if SSI is your only income because SSI is not taxable.

    You can also see what the IRS says about this at --
    IRS publication 915 talks about the taxation of social security benefits, and points out that SSI is not taxable.

    This answer or response should not be considered legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.... more
  3. Evan A Nielsen

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Yes to both questions - the IRS can garnish Social Security and you need to file if you have income, including Social Security.

    Hope that helps.

    Evan A. Nielsen is licensed to practice law in California and handles federal tax matters throughout the U.S. The... more

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