Thursday, July 18

Does Gambling Winnings Affect Social Security?

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Social security refers to the program which uses public funds to ensure a degree of economic security for the people. In the United States, it was established in 1935 which takes care of disability, old age, income for the elderly amongst others.

The taxes used to run the social security program is from both employers and employees. These taxes are not used primarily for the welfare of these employees and employers but for people who have attained retirement age or people who are eligible to benefit from the program. It is a cycle. People who can work how pay taxes for those who have worked before them and when the workers of how retire, those who are working then get to pay their own social security.

The program covers retirement pensions, disability insurance, survivor benefits, unemployment insurance. This means not everyone is entitled to social security benefits. The group of people who are entitled to it are between ages 65 and 67 all depends on the year you were born, you could be eligible at age 62 but applying at this age would reduce your social security benefits permanently, spouses. These are not the only requirements to qualify you for social security there are other important determinants for your eligibility. The number of years you worked is important too. You are assigned a number of credits for every year worked. For every $1360 earned, you are assigned one credit. What this means is depending on when you born, you would or would not be eligible for social security benefits.

For disability benefits, you might be discontinued from receiving it is you come into some money from say, the lottery, gambling etc. The receipt of this form of income does not necessarily have to be you directly, it could be your spouse. If the amount you win is more than $2000, sorry, but you do not qualify for social security benefits that month. If the amount is less, your social security benefits will be matched dollar to dollar with the amount. Whatever is left, you will be paid.  

A great impact is felt on your tax returns when you win gambling than when you lose. The amount which you win gambling might seem small but the impact on your tax return are substantial. The tax which you have to pay would most likely override the amount won even your gambling losses on say,,  would not cover it.

You are required by law to report your gambling winnings. This is also done by the casino. Once a player exceeds the $1,200 mark on say, slots, a report is filed. Check your tax report and any amount won from gambling is on the first page.

The reporting of your gambling winnings actually cover all amounts won but in the event that the amount won exceeds the amounts listed below, they should be reported on your Form W-2G.

.$5,000 or more won in poker tournaments.

.$1,500 or more won in keno 

.$1,200 or more won at slots or bingo

.$600 or more won at betting if the number of bets 300 or more. These amounts might be reduced when the wager placed by the winner is considered. It is required by law and the regulatory authorities that all amounts won gambling should be reported on your tax returns. 

Gambling losses also have an impact on social security. The can be used to claim tax returns, but this applies only to when it is equal to the total amount of gambling winnings reported. They are claimed under itemized deduction. Remember that you can only successfully claim losses if all your gambling receipts and records are complete and in order. As this will be the evidence needed to make the ‘itemized deductions’. So, technicality your gambling losses are reclaimed through your gambling winnings but only to the extend that the amounts are the same.

According to the IRS, gambling winnings are taxable income. They only make provision for the deduction of losses. Gambling activities whose winnings will be taxed are games like poker, slots, bingo, racetrack games amongst others. Gambling winnings on a whole affect your social security hugely because whether you lose the same amount of money you win while gambling you would be paying a lot in taxes. When you win from gambling, the amount won is subjected to a 25% tax. There are certain higher amounts however which an income tax will be applied.

Most people especially retirees play the lottery. So they are concerned if this would affect their social security benefits. Well, the good news is that, your social security benefits is not affected by winning the lottery. This is because there is a social security earnings test conducted on your earnings. This worked this way. For every $2 earned, social security withholds $1 for amounts $17,640 and above as at 2019. This is applicable for workers who are not up to the full retirement age. Still, this bracket of people are concerned about the possibility of losing their benefits if they win the lottery. Good news, your benefits are safe. The lottery winnings would be taxed as required by law, but your benefits would be intact.

Gambling is fun. The possibilities for winnings are endless. You could actually win the jackpot and smile to the bank. The other arm to gambling is losing and to be honest, most people loss kore than they gain. For you as an individual who is on social security, the impact on your benefits is felt more than an individual who isn’t on social security. The soft landing you would have is the ability to report your losses when you report your winnings then the amount of losses would be deducted. This deduction isn’t carried out arbitrarily. Say, you lost $500 and won $600. The amount of losses deducted from your tax return would be $500. So, make sure you have all necessary information about your social security before you gamble.

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