Box 5 shows the total benefits paid in Box 3 less benefits repaid in Box 4. The beneficiary
or taxpayer uses the net benefits paid to determine whether Social Security benefits
are subject to federal income tax. Sometimes, due to internal adjustments, boxes 3
and 4 show inflated figures. However, such figures cancel out each other and the net
benefit will be correct.
The sum of the benefits repaid (Box4) may exceed the total benefits paid (Box 3).
When this occurs, Box 5 will show a negative amount in parentheses, such as ($560.00).