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"Combined Income"?? First I've heard the use of that term.

The more traditional term used is ones "provisional income", which is 1/2 of household SS benefits + any muni bond interest + modified AGI.

The 'gotchya' in this calc is that the first and second provisional income thresholds (25,000 & 34,000 for single filers and 32,000 & 44,000 for those married filing jointly) are NOT indexed for inflation, which means every year, the percentage of SS beneficiaries having to include some% - up to 85% - as ordinary income, is increasing. For example, for a fairly average couple collecting $26,000 in SS benefits, only has to have at least another $19,000 in household MAGI (which for the vast majority is simply their gross income plus any muni bond interest) to have to start including part of the SS benefits as ordinary income. And this will include all gross income, such as retirement plan/TIRA withdrawals, capital gains, qualifying dividends, interest of all forms and pension payments. The only form of income I can think of that is not included would be qualifying Roth IRA withdrawals and distributions that are return of capital, as one might get from MLPs, some REITs and as part of the payments received from a single premium immediate annuity.

An although I appreciate the tax calculations, be careful not to let the tax tail wag the family financial dog. When to begin SS benefits requires taking into account all household of which is the tax expense.

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