Q. Is a person receiving Social Security disability also entitled to receive half of the husband’s Social Security retirement? Do a disabled husband and wife have to pay federal or state tax?

A. A wife receives whichever is greater — her own Social Security or half of her husband’s Social Security benefit (reduced if begun before full retirement age). Both benefits are not payable.

There is no provision in Federal tax law exempting Social Security disability benefits from taxation. You will pay tax on your Social Security benefits, based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. If you:

  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income that is
    • between $32,000 and $44,000, up to 50 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
    • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • are married and file a separate tax return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.

Call the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-3676 for a definitive answer to tax questions. State law determines how benefits are taxed by the state.