The IRS wants taxpayers with disabilities and the parents of children with disabilities to be especially aware of whether they qualify for the EITC.

People with disabilities are often concerned that a refund will impact their eligibility for one or more public benefits, including Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid and Food Stamps. Refunds, including refunds from tax credits such as the EITC, are not counted as income for purposes of determining eligibility for benefits. This applies to any federal program and any state or local program financed with federal funds.

As many as an estimated 1.5 million people with disabilities miss out on this credit because they fail to file a return, according to the IRS. Many of these non-filers fall below the income threshold requiring them to file, but the service urges them to consider filing anyway to possibly receive the EITC.

To qualify, the taxpayer must have earned income. Usually, this means income either from a job or from self-employment. But taxpayers who retired on disability can also count as earned income any taxable benefits they receive under an employer’s disability retirement plan. These benefits remain earned income until the disability retiree reaches minimum retirement age.

The IRS emphasized that Social Security benefits or SSDI do not count as earned income. Additionally, taxpayers may claim a child with a disability or a relative with a disability of any age to get the credit if the person meets all other EITC requirements.

The IRS’s EITC Assistant can help determine a taxpayer’s eligibility and estimate the credit.

The IRS and partners nationwide will hold the annual EITC Awareness Day on Friday, Jan. 27.

Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson is a veteran freelance journalist who previously served as editor of The Practical Accountant.