line.2a Modified AGI Worksheet
IRS # 8962 Instructions Page 6

How does one add back in
social security benefits that were not included in income on line 20 of their 1040 to
calculate MAGI for Covered CA?

When calculating the Premium Tax Credit, (Subsidy)  MAGI-Modified Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)  is the bottom line number on line #37 on your 1040 tax return then add back in the difference between line 20a and 20b of your 1040.

See the explanation, screen shots and references at right & below to better understand out it all works.  Please note that neither I nor Covered CA give tax advise.  Here’s where Covered CA’s advise caused someone to pay back $13k in subsidies.

Check out Medi-Gap – Supplemental Coverage – Year around enrollment.  Medicare Advantage during Open or Special Enrollment.

Line 20 add back in untaxed amount
Line 20 of 1040 add back in untaxed amount


line.37 Adjusted Gross income
Line 37 of 1040  Adjusted Gross Income – Click to view our MAGI page for more detail

Summary of what is taxable (SSA.Gov)

Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits.

No one pays federal income tax on more than 85 percent of his or her Social Security benefits based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. If you:

  • file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income* is
    • between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
    • more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
    • between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits
    • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • are married and file a separate tax return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.


Your adjusted gross income
+ Nontaxable interest
+ ½ of your Social Security benefits
= Your “combined income

Each January you will receive a Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099) showing the amount of benefits you received in the previous year. You can use this Benefit Statement when you complete your federal income tax return to find out if your benefits are subject to tax.   Request an SSA 1099  ♦  SSA.Gov ♦ Page 14 Retirement Guide Pub. 10035 ♦  26 US Code §86 Taxable Income Social Security

Social Security Payments, taxable and non-taxable, line 20 a & b 1040, what applies to MAGI-Modified Adjust Gross Income for Covered CA  subsidies – tax credits?

IRS Social Security Benefits Worksheet for 1040 lines 20a & 20b

This is a technical page – Please see our MAGI page for an introduction.

We are not CPA or Attorneys and are not giving tax or legal advise.  That’s why we link to the actual law, IRS or Covered CA publications. f1040.pdf 

Use the Taxpayer’s Modified AGI Worksheet—Line 2a (Page 4) to determine your modified AGI.    Instructions 8962

C      Social Security – Covered CA – MAGI???

Code of FEDERAL Regulations – IRS Income Taxes – 1.36B 1

(2) Modified adjusted gross income means adjusted gross income (line 37) within the meaning of section 62 (definition of AGI)  increased by—

(iii) Social security benefits (Line 20, a & b  above)

   [Social Security Website]   ♦  [Publication 915 – Social Security Benefits – How to prepare your taxes]

not included in gross income under section 26 USC § 86(d) repayments for prior year over payment?

[Might not apply to Medi Cal Eligibility?]

BerkeleyNon-taxable Social Security benefits (Line 20a minus 20b on a Form 1040

Footnote 4 Social Security benefits” includes disability payments (SSDI), but does not include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), (SSI gives cash assistance to people with limited income and resources who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled. )SSA.Gov   which should be excluded Berkley   26 USC 86 D )

Special enrollment periods no longer will be available for:

  • Consumers who were affected by Social Security income tax errors;   Learn More ⇒CA Health Line – Health 1.20.2016


Child & Sibling Pages in MAGI – Modified Adjusted Gross Income – Line 37 » MAGI – FAQs – What counts as Income? Section

More in our Social Security Section of this website

and here

Polk Family has to pay back $13k in tax credits – subsidies – Insure Me  Wrong advise from Covered CA

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4 comments on “Social Security Benefits Line 20 a & b

  1. Is my 10,920 in Social Security added in as MAGI?

    I have 62,368 of Adjusted Gross Income.

    I read your article on it and there was a footnote 4. I couldn’t read it.

  2. I am currently on Medi-Cal.

    I may have the opportunity to increase my income to $1.980/mo. (Not sure if this matters – my current income includes early social security $720/mo. in which case, they will take back 50% of every dollar I make over $1,600/mo.)

    Need quote in case my income increases.

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