Q. Is Social Security considered income when I’m enrolling in a plan through the exchange?
A. Yes. Social Security income is included in the calculation to determine your subsidy eligibility.
To get your ACA-specific modified adjusted gross income (MAGI, which is often referred to as “household income” when we talk about subsidy-eligibility and Medicaid-eligibility), you start with your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your tax return. Then there are three things that must be added to your AGI if any of them apply to you:
- Non-taxable Social Security income.
- Foreign-earned income (and housing expenses if you live abroad).
- Tax-exempt interest income.
So in general, if you have Social Security income that isn’t included in your AGI on your tax return, you need to add it to your AGI to get the total household income on which subsidies are based.
Income from Social Security Disability Insurance also needs to be included in your MAGI, but Supplemental Security Income (SSI) should not be included.
Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.