by Martha King
Deductions, exclusions and credits that may apply to YOU
Taxes pay for many things we all need. But that doesn’t mean any of us should pay a penny more than the law requires.
IRS Publication 907, Tax Highlights for Persons with Disabilities has important details for you or your tax preparer. It’s downloadable at www.irs.gov or telephone 1-800-829-3676.
- Gross Income: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and certain veterans (VA) disability benefits are excluded from your gross income. However, Social Security Administration payments may be taxed, and income from disability insurance that was paid for by your employer (or former employer) is taxable. See IRS publication 525.
- Impairment-Related Work Expenses: If a physical or mental disability limits your ability to function as an employee, you may be able to deduct work expenses related to that impairment. Examples: wages for an on-the-job personal care attendant, or the cost of a text-to-speech computer program. See IRS publication 907 for details.
- Medical Deductibles: You may deduct your medical and dental expenses for the year to the extent that they exceed 7½% of your adjusted gross income, with a few exceptions. You may count the cost of home improvements or equipment to alleviate your physical or mental condition as medical expenses. Examples include installation of ramps or air conditioning, the amounts paid to purchase, train and maintain a service animal, and more. See IRS publication 502.
- Dependent Care Credit: If you pay someone to care for a dependent person so that you can work or look for work, you may claim a credit for those expenses. The dependent can be your spouse or another adult who lives with you, even if that person has some income, as long as he/she is physically or mentally unable to be left alone. See IRS publication 503.
- The Earned Income Credit (EIC): You may be due a cash payment if you worked in 2008 for a low annual wage — up to $12,590 for a single person with no dependents and up to $39,783 for a married couple, filing jointly, who have more than one dependent child. To get the check, you have to apply. See Publication 596.
- Credit for the Elderly and Disabled: Low-income individuals with taxable disability income may qualify for a tax credit. See Publication 524.
Start planning now. Get free help from the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Call early, not on April 14th!
In November 2008, more than 75 organizations, including the National MS Society, launched a national campaign to end the two-year waiting period for health-care coverage through Medicare that follows a person’s initial approval for Social Security Disability Insurance.
An unjustifiable delay
The newly formed Coalition to End the Two-Year Wait released a letter to members of Congress, urging them to end the “unjustifiable delay” for Medicare. The coalition declared its support for the Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM) and Rep. Gene Green (Tex.). When the 111th Congress convened this January, the bill was reintroduced in both the House and Senate. The bill had wide support during the 110th Congress with 103 co-sponsors in the House and 23 in the Senate.
According to the coalition, 1.5 million people are waiting for Medicare coverage.
To learn more about the coalition and get involved in MS advocacy, visit nationalMSsociety.org/advocacy, where you can sign up to receive news and updates on health policies, help find solutions to MS issues, and take action on legislation that matters.
MSConnection is changing to an online format. Future issues will be published exclusively on the Chapter web site, www.MSnewengland.org.
Those who require reading accommodations may still receive a printed copy in the mail on request.
Each new edition will be announced via email, containing a table of contents and links to stories. If you do not have an email address on file with the Chapter office, please visit www.MSnewengland.org and complete a subscription form.
Changing to an online newsletter is best for the environment, and saves the Chapter thousands of dollars each year in printing and postage costs, which are better spent on MS education, support, advocacy, services, and research.
If you have questions about accessing MSConnection online, please feel free to contact the Communications Department at Communications@mam.nmss.org, or at 1-800-344-4867.
Move It During MS Awareness Week.
Mark your calendars and get ready to move it closer to a world free of MS.
March 2-8 is MS Awareness Week and is a great opportunity to spread the word and raise awareness for MS. So many ways to move it. Check out our web site to learn how.
We believe meaningful health-care reform must involve these seven principles:
- Accessible health-care coverage
- Affordable health-care services and coverage
- Standards for coverage of specific treatments
- Elimination of disparity in health care
- Comprehensive high-quality health care available to all
- Increased value of health care
- Access to high-quality long-term supports and services