Qualifying to File Schedule R: Federal Income Tax for Elderly or Disabled Person Tax Credits

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The schedules included with Federal Income Tax form 1040 are used to make the tax paying process modular. In this way, individuals can fill out and attach whichever schedules apply to them and ignore all others. Schedule R is used by the elderly and disabled to claim a tax credit.

According to Schedule R, those over 65 and those under 65 with a disability may claim a tax credit. The amount claimed depends on whether the tax payer is filing as single, head of household, widow/widower, married filing jointly, married filing separately, and whether both the taxpayer and his/her spouse both qualify for the credit or if only one qualifies.

Who May File Schedule R

Schedule R may be filed by tax payers who fall into one of two categories. First, any tax payer who was 65 years of age or older by the end of the tax year may file. Tax payers under 65 years of age may file Schedule R if they were permanently and totally disabled on the date of retirement from work. For the 2009 tax year, disabled tax payers may file if they retired before 1977 and were permanently and totally disabled on January 1st, 1976 or January 1st, 1977. These disabled tax payers must also have received taxable disability income for the tax year. Furthermore, on January 1st of the tax year, disabled tax payers must not have reached mandatory retirement age or the age when the employer’s retirement program required the tax payer to retire. Definitions for permanently and totally disabled can be found on page R-2 of the Instructions to Schedule R under the heading “What is Permanent and Total Disability?”

Nonresident aliens during the tax year may be able to file Schedule R if the tax payer is married and filing jointly. There are income limits associated with the tax credit. For example, if the amount on form 1040 line 38 is $17,500 or greater, a single tax payer can not claim the credit. This amount jumps to $25,000 for or greater for married couple filing jointly if both spouses qualify for the credit because of age or disability. Since the credit is based on filing status, age, and income, consulting the Schedule R Instructions will make clear whether a tax payer is eligible for the credit.


Eligibility for the elderly and disabled tax credit on Schedule R is a somewhat complicated task. Several factors determine whether a tax payer can claim the credit and all criteria must be met. Too much taxable income and mandatory retirement can change a tax payer’s eligibility. Consequently, carefully reading of the requirements is wise.

Always consult with a tax professional for questions about your tax liability.

This post is part of the series: Federal Income Taxes, the IRS, and the 1040 Tax Form and Schedules

U.S. Federal Income Taxes are a complicated matter to figure. There are numerous forms, sub-forms, and schedules the filing of which are necessary for some and not for others. Learn about income taxes, the 1040, and the 1040’s numerous schedules.

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