Who Can Take the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled (Schedule R)?

If you are over the age of 65 at the end of the tax year or if you are totally and permanently disabled, you may be eligible to claim the Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. 

Many taxpayers who are over 65 or disabled qualify for a tax credit worth between $3,750 and $7,500, but not everyone who experiences disability or meets the age requirement is eligible to claim it. To qualify for the credit for the elderly or disabled, you must:

  1. Have reached age 65 on or before the last day of the tax year (As a practical matter, this means your 65th birthday must occur on or before January 1 of the tax year following the year for which you are claiming the credit.)


  • Be under age 65 at the end of the tax year AND:
    • Be retired due to permanent and total disability
    • Be younger than the mandatory retirement age set by your former employer
    • Have been totally and permanently disabled at the time of your retirement
    • Have received taxable disability pay during the tax year

In addition to satisfying the conditions listed above, 

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien of the U.S.
  • Your income must not exceed a threshold set by the IRS for this credit each year. 

The IRS provides a tool to help you figure out whether you qualify to claim this credit. To use the tool you will need to know:

  • The amount of your adjusted gross income for the year
  • The amount and types of taxable income and nontaxable pensions you received during the year
  • The age and filing status that apply to both you and your spouse 

If you qualify for the credit, you can claim it by filing Schedule R, Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. 

Note: In general, you must file a joint tax return with your spouse to qualify for the credit if you are married and you lived with your spouse during any part of the tax year. However, in certain situations married taxpayers who are filing as Head of Household may be eligible to claim the credit. If you are not sure whether you qualify to claim the credit, you may wish to review Publication 524, Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.

You may also wish to review Publication 554, Tax Guide for Seniors to learn about other tax benefits and information that may be relevant to your situation.