How much Social Security income do Jill and Joe Biden receive?
The most powerful couple in the country receive a substantial monthly payment but the vast majority of the support is subject to taxation.
Across 2022 around 66 million Americans every month will receive a Social Security benefits, making it by far the most widely-used form of financial relief in the United States.
Eligibility for the program is so broad in fact, that recipients even include the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
Since the 1970s most presidents, with the notable recent exception of Donald Trump, have publicly filed their federal tax returns in a bid to offer greater transparency to voters. The Bidens released their joint tax returns during campaigning for the 2020 presidential election and revealed their significant Social Security income.
In 2022 line 6a of the Bidens’ Form 1040, the amount of Social Security benefits received in the previous calendar year, showed that they had claimed $54,665 on a joint basis. This works at at around $2,275 each per month.
However their Social Security income should be taken in the context of their huge annual earnings, and the taxes that they would have necessarily paid on that income over the years. Between 1998 and 2016 their adjusted gross incomes (AGIs) ranged from $210,000 to $407,000, but that soared soon after.
In 2017 the Bidens reported a joint AGI of more than $11 million, and more than $4.5 million in 2018. With this in mind their combined $4,555 per month back in Social Security pay barely scratches the surface of the taxes that they would have paid over that time.
Both Joe (79-years-old) and Jill (71) Biden are eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits and have both earned so much over their respective careers that they are close to the top rate of monthly payment. The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculate the monthly entitlement on the basis of the filer’s 35 highest-earning years, when adjusted for inflation.
Will the Bidens have to pay tax on their Social Security benefits?
In a word, yes. Despite a common misconception, Social Security benefits are taxable in certain circumstances.
The Social Security Amendments Act of 1983 changed the rule to make half of a recipient’s Social Security income subject to federal taxation, provided their modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeded a threshold.
This was changed in 1993 when President Clinton introduced a second tier of Social Security taxation, opening up 85% of a high-income recipient’s Social Security payments to taxation.
The Bidens earn far more than the top-tier income threshold and so 85% of their Social Security income is now subject to federal taxation. Line 6b of their 2022 filing lists $46,465 in taxable Social Security income for the Bidens.
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