Why would I earn more on disability, than if I worked till retirement age?

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I recently got my latest social security statement, and found the "Estimated Benefits" to be quite shocking.

It says at my current earnings rate, if I continue working until my full retirement age of 67 years old, I will earn $1000 a month (Note - this isn't the actual amount, but I am rounding and just making an example)
It also says if I become disabled right now, my payment will be $1100 a month (Again, not exact amount, but rounded)

So basically I can slave away at work until 67 years old, and finally at that point receive a smaller amount, or if I were to become disabled right now, I'd immediately begin receiving a much larger amount.  How does this make sense?  Obviously for myself personally I will continue to work since I'm not a freeloader, and my wages are double either figure.  But this seems explain exactly why there are so many people out there who appear to be milking the system, claiming disability yet they look perfectly fine, and demonstrate they are completely capable on working on all their own houses/cars/projects, even playing sports, yet somehow cannot have a job. Am I missing something here?  Why would the system be set up like this?

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Welcome to the matrix.

https://www.ssa.gov/disability/

The Social Security Administration administers a variety of programs. They explain disability programs at above link. The below explains differences with the retirement benefit compared to disability benefit.

http://finance.zacks.com/disability-vs-social-security-benefits-...

mxmaniac said:   I recently got my latest social security statement, and found the "Estimated Benefits" to be quite shocking.

It says at my current earnings rate, if I continue working until my full retirement age of 67 years old, I will earn $1000 a month (Note - this isn't the actual amount, but I am rounding and just making an example)
It also says if I become disabled right now, my payment will be $1100 a month (Again, not exact amount, but rounded)

So basically I can slave away at work until 67 years old, and finally at that point receive a smaller amount, or if I were to become disabled right now, I'd immediately begin receiving a much larger amount.  How does this make sense?  Obviously for myself personally I will continue to work since I'm not a freeloader, and my wages are double either figure.  But this seems explain exactly why there are so many people out there who appear to be milking the system, claiming disability yet they look perfectly fine, and demonstrate they are completely capable on working on all their own houses/cars/projects, even playing sports, yet somehow cannot have a job. Am I missing something here?  Why would the system be set up like this?

  I guess no one want to be disabled unless they have to.

There will always be people willing to scam the system.

I don't have an issue with the current payout being more if disabled. It likely is more expensive to be disabled.

Sure there are people abusing the system but there are also people who need that amount if not more.

Its generally not set up like that. Disability and retirement benefit amounts are about the same using the same kind of calculation. But theres a couple big differences.

First the figures are estimates based on your earnings. The figure for retirement is making some guesses based on your future expected earnings.

Retirement benefits are figured over the income of your best 35 years of work.
Disability benefits are based on a period of time determined by how may years you worked. Its not using 35 years but the # of years depends when you're disabled. I'm not sure of the exact math but if you're disabled at age 27 you probably worked 5-10 years and they'd average your income over that 5-10 year period.

The difference you're seeing is probably due to some difference in how your current estimate of disability benefits based on your actual work history differs from how they project your total 35 years of work for retirement.

Have you had a recent drop in income? If you worked 10 years at 35k and now just took a job for the past couple years at 30k then I could see the current disability being lower than retirement estimate.



Also:
1. people on disability are generally not "freeloaders" on a count of being disabled.   yes I know there is abuse but thats a minority.
2. disability is a benefit insurance program that we all pay for so getting it doesn't make you a freeloader
3. 10% more is not a "much larger" amount in my thinking.
4. why do people need to act like being disabled and living off $1100 is some sort of luxury cruise through life?

The disabled get more money because they are experiencing a life changing hardship and SSA wants to help and aid those who are down on their luck. Anyone who takes advantage of disability is a despicable scammer.

I all have to do to prove I'm disabled is refer people to read all my FW posts.

Its not designed to pay more for disability. It depends on individual work history specifics.
I plug in my figures into the quick calculator for SS benefits and it says I'd be getting ~$100 more per month with full retirement than the current disability amount.

jerosen said:   1. people on disability are generally not "freeloaders" on a count of being disabled.   yes I know there is abuse but that's a minority.
  Not even remotely correct. The SS disability program has become an unemployment/welfare program. Guess what, a true disability program is not affected by the economy. There were massive spikes in disability roles from 2008 - 2013. Then it moderated and even trending lower.

Of the people I am aware of who went on disability while not working, the vast majority were "working" the system. They get lawyers who know how the game is played. It has been the minority of people who had real disabilities that really prevented them from working.
 

btuttle said:   jerosen said:   1. people on disability are generally not "freeloaders" on a count of being disabled.   yes I know there is abuse but that's a minority.
  Not even remotely correct. The SS disability program has become an unemployment/welfare program. Guess what, a true disability program is not affected by the economy. There were massive spikes in disability roles from 2008 - 2013. Then it moderated and even trending lower.
 

Not even remotely correct. Many disabled people work or attempt to work anyways. Employers are more likely to fire (and not hire any new) disabled people in a "down" economy, which would itself create spikes during those periods.

Unless you're advocating that in "a true disability program" the government would force all partially or fully disabled people out of the workforce even though someone is willing to pay them and they're willing to perform work even though they're disabled?

btuttle said:   
jerosen said:   1. people on disability are generally not "freeloaders" on a count of being disabled.   yes I know there is abuse but that's a minority.
  Not even remotely correct. The SS disability program has become an unemployment/welfare program. Guess what, a true disability program is not affected by the economy. There were massive spikes in disability roles from 2008 - 2013. Then it moderated and even trending lower.

Of the people I am aware of who went on disability while not working, the vast majority were "working" the system. They get lawyers who know how the game is played. It has been the minority of people who had real disabilities that really prevented them from working.

  In some part of the country, this seems to be true.  60 minutes did a story on it.  But I don't think anyone know the real %, after all, it's sometime a judgement call.  

btuttle said:   
jerosen said:   1. people on disability are generally not "freeloaders" on a count of being disabled.   yes I know there is abuse but that's a minority.
  Not even remotely correct. 
...
 

  
No.

The vast majority of people on disability have valid disabilities.   There is undoubtedly a small % committing fraud.

 

I have witnessed multiple people work the system with SS disability. It's called early retirement for those POS that work the system.

Just one of the many I've seen - A co-worker knew he was in danger of being fired. Next thing you know he "slipped" and hurt his back during one of his jobs and was well on his way to early retirement AKA disability. He had previously told co-workers that his entire family was on disability and knew the right doctors and lawyers. Our company even hired a private investigator but he was wearing his back brace at all times. He was in his 40s and never had to work again. You don't even want to know how much he was pulling in with the disability payments due to the fact he had young children. He was easily better off than me after is was all said and done. They also get free health care which is one of my biggest worries for the future. I get to work my ass off and have all these worries while the fakers don't have a care in the world. Free health care, free money - what a country! Dude gets to sleep in and wear PJs all day and doesn't have to worry about health care, getting laid off or WORKING.

The truth is if you are a POS you can get on this gravy train. I have seen it many times. Don't you dare question these people THEY ARE DISABLED YOU MONSTER.


The icing on the cake is that my social security when I retire from actually WORKING is projected to be only 75% of what is owed to me while these POS get 100% while doing NOTHING. No, I'm not bitter.

I wish I did not know the truth, but I have seen it first hand. If you think it is hard to work this BS system you are mistaken....I wish I was oblivious like you.

stat9 said:   The icing on the cake is that my social security when I retire from actually WORKING is projected to be only 75% of what is owed to me while these POS get 100% while doing NOTHING. No, I'm not bitter.
  Why are you only getting 75% of what's "owed to you"?

Uneven contributions (or increase/decreased recent wages in case of SS/disability like pointed out by someone else, above) can also really throw off the "estimates".   My ~$117k balance 401k says projected income in retirement is "$15,213/month" because I had uneven larger contributions during the previous quarter.

dhodson said:   There will always be people willing to scam the system.

However, if a system does not exist, it cannot be scammed.

HAPPINESS is in our founding docs, and someday D&R's will make a big giant system to provide it.

But until this happens, there is no such thing as Happiness waste, Happiness fraud, or Happiness abuse.

There are no Happiness contractors in Wash receiving massive no-bid Happiness contracts.

There are not trillions wasted on a Happiness System.

There are not not even billions being wasted on a Happiness System, for now, because it does not exist.

There are no Happiness agents being gifted large lifetime pensions.

There are no Happiness System office buildings filled with 6-figure no-show jobs.
 
If every system not enumerated by James M. did not exist, paychecks would be untouched and immune from forced scamming.

I was in line at WalMart and I overheard two girls in their 20s and the cashier talking heatedly about SS disability. They were all trying to get on the early retirement grave train AKA disability. One of the girls who couldn't have been more than 25 states in a loud, entitled voice..."I've worked and paid into the system since I was 18 years old so they BETTER approve my disability application." You can't make this stuff up.

There's plenty of disability fraud - just look at Puerto Rico.  9/10 of the top disability zip codes nationwide just happen to be there?  

https://waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/9_19_13_SS_Insert_C...

Turns out that wasn't a coincidence.  Here's a discussion of the FBI arresting of nearly 100 people in a huge conspiracy to defraud SS disability by helping people apply via totally subjective disabilities like "mood disorders", as in "I'm not in the mood to work, ever."   

https://waysandmeans.house.gov/hearing-on-social-security-disability-fraud-conspiracy-in-puerto-rico/

stat9 said:   I have witnessed multiple people work the system with SS disability. It's called early retirement for those POS that work the system.

Just one of the many I've seen - A co-worker knew he was in danger of being fired. Next thing you know he "slipped" and hurt his back during one of his jobs and was well on his way to early retirement AKA disability. He had previously told co-workers that his entire family was on disability and knew the right doctors and lawyers. Our company even hired a private investigator but he was wearing his back brace at all times. He was in his 40s and never had to work again. You don't even want to know how much he was pulling in with the disability payments due to the fact he had young children. He was easily better off than me after is was all said and done. They also get free health care which is one of my biggest worries for the future. I get to work my ass off and have all these worries while the fakers don't have a care in the world. Free health care, free money - what a country! Dude gets to sleep in and wear PJs all day and doesn't have to worry about health care, getting laid off or WORKING.

The truth is if you are a POS you can get on this gravy train. I have seen it many times. Don't you dare question these people THEY ARE DISABLED YOU MONSTER.


The icing on the cake is that my social security when I retire from actually WORKING is projected to be only 75% of what is owed to me while these POS get 100% while doing NOTHING. No, I'm not bitter.

I wish I did not know the truth, but I have seen it first hand. If you think it is hard to work this BS system you are mistaken....I wish I was oblivious like you.

  Only idealistic people get this upset about anything.  I've been there, so I know.  The world is not what you want it to be.  Enjoy a bagel for breakfast and then fall on a slippery floor in the cafeteria.

Bend3r said:   
stat9 said:   The icing on the cake is that my social security when I retire from actually WORKING is projected to be only 75% of what is owed to me while these POS get 100% while doing NOTHING. No, I'm not bitter.
  Why are you only getting 75% of what's "owed to you"?

Uneven contributions (or increase/decreased recent wages in case of SS/disability like pointed out by someone else, above) can also really throw off the "estimates".   My ~$117k balance 401k says projected income in retirement is "$15,213/month" because I had uneven larger contributions during the previous quarter.

  I think he is talking about what portion of SS is funded. I seem to remember reading that past a certain date, only 75% of projected payments are "funded." I believe congress (or whoever) will have to close the gap somehow.

jerosen said:   
btuttle said:   
jerosen said:   1. people on disability are generally not "freeloaders" on a count of being disabled.   yes I know there is abuse but that's a minority.
  Not even remotely correct. 
...

No. The vast majority of people on disability have valid disabilities.   There is undoubtedly a small % committing fraud.

  Pretty sure aren't you. You know this to be a fact, How???

I stand by my statement based on real observation. Do the majority of those on disability have legitimate disabilities, probably. However, it is not the vast majority and it is more than a small % of people on disability who should not. There are counties in the U.S., where more than 1 in 4 people 18 - 65 are on disability. Sure everyone of them is legitimate.

btuttle said:   
jerosen said:   
btuttle said:   
jerosen said:   1. people on disability are generally not "freeloaders" on a count of being disabled.   yes I know there is abuse but that's a minority.
  Not even remotely correct. 
...

No. The vast majority of people on disability have valid disabilities.   There is undoubtedly a small % committing fraud.

  Pretty sure aren't you. You know this to be a fact, How???

I stand by my statement based on real observation. Do the majority of those on disability have legitimate disabilities, probably. However, it is not the vast majority and it is more than a small % of people on disability who should not. There are counties in the U.S., where more than 1 in 4 people 18 - 65 are on disability. Sure everyone of them is legitimate.

  
Neither of us has given any solid data on the % of people on disability who are frauds.

I said that the % committing fraud is a minority.   You just agreed the majority have legitimate disabilities.   Technically those two points agree.   We both believe the fraud rate is lower than 50% at least.   I believe its much lower.  

What % do you think it is?  10% 20%? 40%?      Are you and I maybe disagreeing over opinions of +/- 5%?

An individual county with high fraud rate doesn't mean too much since there are 100's of counties in the US.    A dirt poor county in West Virginia with high fraud rate is an outlier. Have any valid nationwide facts or statistics to substantiate your opinion??


Data point:  growth in SS disability has almost entirely been due to changing demographics
https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v73n4/v73n4p25.html

edit:   you should also be aware that 20% of the nation is disabled.   
https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/...
Some of that is very minor, and a lot of it is in the >65 year old group, but the % rate is likely higher than you'd expect.   A lot of it you simply don't see.  

One day the husband of my wife's friend says, "I can see why people go on disability because of free health care and the substantial monthly benefit". Little did he konw that this is my pet peeve and I said yeah it's a joke. The next year the dude goes on disability and says, "I get quite a bit of money because my family etc." I couldn't believe it was just that easy. I plugged in some numbers and was shocked to see that if I faked a disability I would make as much if not more because of the dependents. I would never have to worry about health insurance again. I don't have to do jack sh*t ever again and have no worries. It is like saving up a million dollars to retire early except in this case you don't save a penny and let everyone else pay for you being a POS. I have personally witnessed eight get on this gravy train with BS disabilities so it hits close to home. I wish I didn't know how easy it is.


I worked with a worker from a temp-agency one day and he told be every single person there talks about the doctors and lawyers to use to get on the disability gravy train. He said he didn't mind working at the time, but eventually he plans on getting on it just like the others. He said his girlfriend worked for the state and got on disability due to back pain due to sitting down. She eventually told him she was bored and was thinking about getting off disability and he convinced her to keep the sure thing of disability.

I am projected to get 75% of SS for actually working when I retire due to a shortfall that may or may not take place. That is what my SS statement says. Those faking disability get 100% right now and get a payout equal to a full retirement for those dumb enough to actually WORK. The incentive is just so large to work the system. Why work when you can get free health care and monthly checks for doing nothing. The rest of us clowns will happily work our entire lives just so they can exist.

stat9 said:   I wish I didn't know how easy it is.
  Tempting, isn't it?

DTASFAB said:   
stat9 said:   I wish I didn't know how easy it is.
  Tempting, isn't it?

  The only thing tempting is retiring early so I can stop funding the gravy train.  Unfortunately, I realize that to have a decent life I need to save a ton of $$$$ and worry about health insurance etc....now that you mention it, my back is killing me!

In eastern Ky. it's called the crazy check.
http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article44601834...

A U.S. Senate committee investigation released in 2013 said that Conn's firm provided medical reports that doctors signed without doing thorough examinations in many cases, and that Conn improperly colluded with a Social Security judge who rubber-stamped benefits for his clients with little or no scrutiny.Conn received $22.7 million from 2001 to 2013 from the Social Security Administration, or SSA, to represent claimants, the Senate report said.

stat9 said:   
DTASFAB said:   
stat9 said:   I wish I didn't know how easy it is.
  Tempting, isn't it?

  The only thing tempting is retiring early so I can stop funding the gravy train.  Unfortunately, I realize that to have a decent life I need to save a ton of $$$$ and worry about health insurance etc....now that you mention it, my back is killing me!

  
My stepmother was legitimately disabled, it took 18 months or so for her to get through the system (without use of special lawyers/doctors) and she didn't get that much of a backdating.  (I assume a lawyer would have gotten her more backdating and taken his pay from that payment)  The money involved for her wasn't particularly much - but when she worked and when my dad worked they were not highly paid.  She wasn't much over minimum and my dad was maybe 30% higher than minimum.  Her monthly benefits were less than $2000 per month.  They aren't much more than that now that she is on SS instead.

Plus getting medicare is a separate process that takes a few years on disability.   Once she finally got on medicare she had a LOT of deferred work done, hips and knees and lately spinal.  I suspect her medical expenses on MC were more than she ever paid in to SS.  It is what it is.

It isn't a gravy train, it is basically subsistence living -- the US version of the UK "dole" that requires a bit more dishonesty.

Apparently there are two SS disability programs. One give a relatively low benefit (~1k/month) to anyone who qualifies, regardless of earnings paid-in. The other program pays more if you've paid into the system already, with the bulk of the credits having to be in the last 5 years. I guess to keep retired people from claiming it.

TravelerMSY said:   Apparently there are two SS disability programs. One give a relatively low benefit (~1k/month) to anyone who qualifies, regardless of earnings paid-in. The other program pays more if you've paid into the system already, with the bulk of the credits having to be in the last 5 years. I guess to keep retired people from claiming it.
  
Yes.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)  and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSDI is part of your normal SS benefit.  It pays similarly to SS but is a long term disability insurance.    The benefit varies based on earnings but can be $1-2k/mo.

SSI is a low income benefit for people who can't/don't qualify for SSDI.    It pays much lower.   Max is like $700/mo


Kind of similar to medicaid vs medicare.
 

RedWolfe01 said:   stat9 said:   
DTASFAB said:   
stat9 said:   I wish I didn't know how easy it is.
  Tempting, isn't it?

  The only thing tempting is retiring early so I can stop funding the gravy train.  Unfortunately, I realize that to have a decent life I need to save a ton of $$$$ and worry about health insurance etc....now that you mention it, my back is killing me!

  
My stepmother was legitimately disabled, it took 18 months or so for her to get through the system (without use of special lawyers/doctors) and she didn't get that much of a backdating.  (I assume a lawyer would have gotten her more backdating and taken his pay from that payment)  The money involved for her wasn't particularly much - but when she worked and when my dad worked they were not highly paid.  She wasn't much over minimum and my dad was maybe 30% higher than minimum.  Her monthly benefits were less than $2000 per month.  They aren't much more than that now that she is on SS instead.

Plus getting medicare is a separate process that takes a few years on disability.   Once she finally got on medicare she had a LOT of deferred work done, hips and knees and lately spinal.  I suspect her medical expenses on MC were more than she ever paid in to SS.  It is what it is.

It isn't a gravy train, it is basically subsistence living -- the US version of the UK "dole" that requires a bit more dishonesty.


Gravy train for the many fakers. I could live well on it with no health insurance premiums, day care, any costs related to having to actually work.

Agreed, I could also live quite comfortably on $1100/mo if I didn't have to pay for health insurance.  I wouldn't want to do this if I didn't have a paid-off house, though.  And who says you can't keep working anyway?  I could sit here at the computer, still charging clients $200+/hr, they pay me with bitcoins and nobody is the wiser.  I am getting depressed just reading all of this.  Fortunately depression is covered in impairment listing 12.04, Affective Disorders.  Maybe it's time for me to dip into my HSA and go see a shrink?

jerosen said:   
TravelerMSY said:   Apparently there are two SS disability programs. One give a relatively low benefit (~1k/month) to anyone who qualifies, regardless of earnings paid-in. The other program pays more if you've paid into the system already, with the bulk of the credits having to be in the last 5 years. I guess to keep retired people from claiming it.
  
Yes.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)  and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSDI is part of your normal SS benefit.  It pays similarly to SS but is a long term disability insurance.    The benefit varies based on earnings but can be $1-2k/mo.

SSI is a low income benefit for people who can't/don't qualify for SSDI.    It pays much lower.   Max is like $700/mo


Kind of similar to medicaid vs medicare.

  Yeah. I've looked at some kind of minimal W2 job or SE income just to keep the higher SSDI disability policy alive for the 5 year look back, but it never seems worth it compared to just saving and investing the money myself. I haven't paid anything into the system in 10 years or so..

ETA- You have to have worked 5 out of the last 10 (20 of the last 40 quarters) to get the higher SSDI benefit. Looks like you have to have paid FICA/SE tax on $1300 of earnings for the quarter to count. Anyone know how to lawfully manufacture 4x1300 in self-employment income? You'd essentially be paying $780/year in SE tax for a disability policy that paid the higher SSDI amount, less whatever additional retirement benefits the payments earned you.

irate_retro said:   Agreed, I could also live quite comfortably on $1100/mo if I didn't have to pay for health insurance.  I wouldn't want to do this if I didn't have a paid-off house, though.  And who says you can't keep working anyway?  I could sit here at the computer, still charging clients $200+/hr, they pay me with bitcoins and nobody is the wiser.  I am getting depressed just reading all of this.  Fortunately depression is covered in impairment listing 12.04, Affective Disorders.  Maybe it's time for me to dip into my HSA and go see a shrink?
  You could potentially be sent to jail for it if you got caught. Although it's probably more expensive for the government to jail you than to pay out your SSDI.

TravelerMSY said:   
irate_retro said:   Agreed, I could also live quite comfortably on $1100/mo if I didn't have to pay for health insurance.  I wouldn't want to do this if I didn't have a paid-off house, though.  And who says you can't keep working anyway?  I could sit here at the computer, still charging clients $200+/hr, they pay me with bitcoins and nobody is the wiser.  I am getting depressed just reading all of this.  Fortunately depression is covered in impairment listing 12.04, Affective Disorders.  Maybe it's time for me to dip into my HSA and go see a shrink?
  You could potentially be sent to jail for it if you got caught. Although it's probably more expensive for the government to jail you than to pay out your SSDI.

  

It all makes sense now.

It would be worth it to send a few high-profile cheaters to jail for it for the deterrent effect. As well as the lawyers and doctors that helped them.

stat9 said:   
RedWolfe01 said:   
stat9 said:   
DTASFAB said:   
stat9 said:   I wish I didn't know how easy it is.
  Tempting, isn't it?

  The only thing tempting is retiring early so I can stop funding the gravy train.  Unfortunately, I realize that to have a decent life I need to save a ton of $$$$ and worry about health insurance etc....now that you mention it, my back is killing me!

  
My stepmother was legitimately disabled, it took 18 months or so for her to get through the system (without use of special lawyers/doctors) and she didn't get that much of a backdating.  (I assume a lawyer would have gotten her more backdating and taken his pay from that payment)  The money involved for her wasn't particularly much - but when she worked and when my dad worked they were not highly paid.  She wasn't much over minimum and my dad was maybe 30% higher than minimum.  Her monthly benefits were less than $2000 per month.  They aren't much more than that now that she is on SS instead.

Plus getting medicare is a separate process that takes a few years on disability.   Once she finally got on medicare she had a LOT of deferred work done, hips and knees and lately spinal.  I suspect her medical expenses on MC were more than she ever paid in to SS.  It is what it is.

It isn't a gravy train, it is basically subsistence living -- the US version of the UK "dole" that requires a bit more dishonesty.


Gravy train for the many fakers. I could live well on it with no health insurance premiums, day care, any costs related to having to actually work.

  Stat9 the biggest gravy train is the income tax system. You sound just like my typical client charged with tax fraud whining about welfare cheats. I have represented both types on federal criminal charges and I would bet you would never stand up to a professional audit by IRS CID.   Since the time Newt Gingrich started cutting the number of CID agents the rate of income and excise tax cheating has gone up by a factor of 20.  For tax year 2006, the last one IRS had sufficient resources for GAO to do a reliable study, $585 billion went unpaid voluntarily by tax payers.  IRS audit and CID collected $240 billion in audits.  I am willing to bet you don't report the income you receive on everything  from the rebates and  credit Card Cash back programs you participate in to frequent flyer mileage from parties other than the airline you flew. .  Income is defined to be every dollar that comes in your door in money or in kind unless the regulations  say it isn't. 26USC 61 " Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle, gross income means all income from whatever source derived," Tax cheats swamp the SS cheats by a factor of $75000 to $1 according the GAO.   May be you should get a field audit from IRS.

It has been known to happen to some of the more prolific posters here, one in the bay area. MSY I agree with you but lets add the tax lawyers, crooked accountants, bankers, real estate agents and others who help the rich cheat on their taxes.  The 2006 GAO study showed 9 out of 10 tax returns with AGI over $500k abused the tax code or out right committed fraud.

Don't forget imputed earnings, that is how they got Al Capone.  How did he afford a new Cadillac and beach front property in Miami without paying taxes?

irate_retro said:   Agreed, I could also live quite comfortably on $1100/mo if I didn't have to pay for health insurance.  I wouldn't want to do this if I didn't have a paid-off house, though.  And who says you can't keep working anyway?  I could sit here at the computer, still charging clients $200+/hr, they pay me with bitcoins and nobody is the wiser.  I am getting depressed just reading all of this.  Fortunately depression is covered in impairment listing 12.04, Affective Disorders.  Maybe it's time for me to dip into my HSA and go see a shrink?
  
If your home was paid for, and you didn't want a new car next year -- and you don't plan to vacation travel...  so basically sit at home and eat basic food and watch TV?  That is some thin gravy.  If I wasn't paying for my Stepmothers house there is no way she could manage it.

Its similar income to unemployment -- actually.

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