Personal Investment & Financial Planning Q`s/ssdi and roth

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Question
I am 37 and disabled and receiving ssdi.  It is likely for life, although continuation reviews are every 3 years.  I gross $18k a year.  Can I open a Roth IRA?  I've read so much conflicting info.  Some say SSDI is considered earned income, and would qualify for a roth, and others say it does not.

Also, my wife works and makes just under 100k.  If we opened a spousal IRA, can we BOTH link our bank accounts to it to each contribute to it?

Thanks

Answer
Hi Jim. Let me first start by saying I am not a CPA and I do not prepare income taxes so my comments below should be verified by a qualified tax professional. The rules regarding Roth IRA contributions center around having earned income and SSDI is not considered earned income. Therefore, if a persons only source of income is SSDI and they do not have earned income where wages or self employment income, then I do not believe they can contronute to a Roth. However, if there is a working spouse who has earned income and does not exceed the income limits for a Roth, then the working spouse can contribute to their own Roth IRA and set up a spousal Roth IRA and make a contribution to this account as well. In other words, based on what you have told me, you spouse may be able to fund a Roth IRA on your behalf since she has earnings. I hope this helps.  

Personal Investment & Financial Planning Q`s

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John D Smith, CFP

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