I am a college student with a severe congenital physical
disability. If I apply for and am granted SSI benefits, will receiving
these benefits cause my family's EFC to increase? I am not employed
and am a full-time student, living in my parents' home. Would we end
up paying more for my college expenses if I were to receive SSI benefits?
— Sharon K.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-84)
amended section 480(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to remove
the Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) from the definition of
untaxed income and benefits starting with the 2009-10 Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As such, receipt of SSI benefits will
have no impact on your eligibility for need-based federal student aid.
Besides removing untaxed Social Security benefits such as SSI from the
definition of untaxed income and benefits, the legislation also
removed removed welfare benefits such as TANF, the earned income tax
credit, the credit for federal taxes on special fuels and the foreign
My FAFSA has been selected for 'verification' and I have been asked
to submit my tax return for review. However, we are filing an
extension, and so the tax return is not available. Can I use the
previous year's income tax return instead?
Taxpayers can get an automatic six-month extension of the time to file
their federal income tax return by filing IRS Form 4868.
Contact the college's financial aid office for instructions on what to
do if you filed for an extension. Generally, the college will want to
see a copy of the IRS Form 4868 as filed by the family, as well as
copies of W-2 forms and 1099 statements. It may also be helpful to
provide them with copies of the last pay stub of the
year. Occasionally colleges will want to see a copy of the previous
year's federal income tax returns to determine whether there are any
additional significant sources of income that aren't included in a W-2
form or 1099 statement.
The college will also require you to send it a copy of the federal
income tax return after you file it later this year.
Some colleges will require you to submit IRS Form 4056-T to the IRS so
that they get confirmation from the IRS that you did indeed file for