To track payments to individuals, the Internal Revenue Service requires businesses and public agencies to use 1099 forms. If you're a freelancer, for example, you may receive several 1099s that detail payments from your clients during the past tax year. The Social Security Administration pays millions of beneficiaries, of course, and notifies them of the yearly amount on its own 1099 form.
Purpose of the Form
Social Security uses the 1099-SSA to report total benefits paid to you during the previous year. A 1099-SSA, like a W-2, is sent out in January and shows retirement or disability benefits. Non-citizens who live outside the United States but receive benefits receive Form 1042S, which reports the same payments. Supplemental Security Income, also paid by the Social Security Administration, is not included in taxable income and is not reported on the 1099-SSA.
Figuring Benefits, Income and Taxes
Social Security benefits may be taxable, depending on how much other income you've earned. The IRS requires you to calculate your "combined" income, which includes wages, nontaxable interest and 50 percent of your Social Security benefits. Depending on the result, and on your filing status, from 0 to 85 percent of your benefits are added to your income and then taxed at whatever your individual income tax rate is.
Replacing a Lost 1099-SSA
If you need a 1099-SSA or have lost the one sent in the mail, you can request a replacement by contacting the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 from Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Social Security website also allows you to create an online "My Social Security" account, which allows you to track earnings, estimate benefits, handle direct deposit and request forms. After creating an account and logging in, click on the "Replacement Documents" tab to request a new 1099-SSA.
Withholding From Benefits
The information on the 1099-SSA is provided to the IRS by the Social Security Administration; you can keep your own copy with your tax records. If you find that you owe taxes on your benefits when you file a return, you can ask Social Security to withhold from your benefits to offset this tax liability. Any withholding by the agency will also show up on the 1099-SSA.