IRS Publication 524 (Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled)

What is IRS Publication 524?

IRS Publication 524 (Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled) is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) document that details the eligibility requirements for a tax credit that is available to people who have a low income and are aged 65 and above or disabled.

Those qualifying for the tax credit must be U.S. citizens or resident aliens aged at least 65 or be retired due to permanent and total disability. A nonresident alien may be eligible for the credit if married to a citizen or resident alien.

Married couples typically have to file a joint tax return in order to qualify.

  • This tax credit is available to people aged 65 and above and people who are permanently disabled.
  • There are eligibility limits based on taxable and non-taxable income.
  • The tax credit is claimed by attaching Schedule R to your Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.

Understanding IRS Publication 524

This tax credit is only available to those with lower incomes who are elderly, disabled, or both.

The cutoff for qualifying as of the 2020 tax year is $17,500 in adjusted gross income (AGI) for a single or widowed person and $25,000 for a married couple if both qualify.

Even then, the filer may not qualify. A single person with at least $5,000 in nontaxable income such as a pension does not qualify regardless of AGI. The limit is $7,500 for couples who both qualify.

What the Credit Is Worth

The amount of the credit that a taxpayer is due is calculated on a worksheet provided by the IRS, although the IRS will do the math if the taxpayer prefers.

Note that this is a tax credit. It reduces the amount of tax you owe dollar for dollar. (That's better than a tax deduction, which merely reduces your taxable income.)

However, it's a "nonrefundable" tax credit, meaning that if your credit is larger than your tax bill, you'll owe zero taxes but the IRS won't send you the difference.

In an example the agency provides, a single taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of $13,100 is eligible for a tax credit of $71.

Download IRS Schedule R

This tax credit is claimed by filing Schedule R, Credit for the Elderly and the Disabled.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Internal Revenue Service. "Publication 524: Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled," Page 5. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020. 

  2. AARP. "Do You Qualify for a Tax Break for the Elderly or Disabled?" Accessed Oct. 10, 2021.