Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Take Credit: Working Pays

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Take Credit: Working Pays

Article excerpt

This article's focus: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Tens of thousands of people with disabilities are losing money each year because they are either unaware or do not know how to file for an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)--an anti-poverty program for hard working, low-income employees aimed at offsetting the burden of taxes, supplementing low wages, and providing an incentive to work. A qualified individual may receive a credit up to $428, a person with one qualifying child may get up to $2,853, and a family with two or more qualifying children may receive up to $4,716. Some families are barely making enough money to provide for basic support, so they should get back every penny possible. This is all money that has been earmarked for this purpose; they simply have to apply for it.

Some people might not be filing for the tax credit because they fear they'll lose needed government benefits if they receive too much of a refund. People with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid cannot have more than $2,000 in assets or they will lose funding that affords them food, shelter and could impact health benefits. But many people don't realize that the Earned Income Tax Credit does not count as income in determining eligibility for benefits like cash assistance, Medicaid, food stamps, SSI, or public housing.

There are specific eligibility requirements to qualify for the EITC, so it is in the best interest of everyone to know how to apply for the credit. One of the eligibility requirements is an income limitation; the income limits for 2007 taxes returns are:

* < $12,590 for people with no children

* < $33,241 for people with one child

* < $37,783 for people with two or more children

Be sure to seek a professional specially trained to handle the nuances involved with planning for people with special needs. They are aware of the importance of filing taxes and can refer people who would qualify for the EITC to tax preparers for assistance free-of-charge. In addition, know that the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides help to low- and moderate-income taxpayers.

An estimated 22 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 have a disability, according to the 2000 Census. …

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