Fact Check: The Bidens' Income DID Go From $396,456 In 2016 To $16.5 Million For 2017-2019 -- It's In Public Records: Increases From Book Deals, Speaking Dates

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: The Bidens' Income DID Go From $396,456 In 2016 To $16.5 Million For 2017-2019 -- It's In Public Records: Increases From Book Deals, Speaking Dates Public Record

Did Joe and Jill Biden's income go from $396,456 in 2016 to a three-year total of $16,596,979 for 2017-2019? Yes, that's true and it is all public record. A viral meme is questioning the huge income increase for the Bidens since they left the White House, asking "anyone else want to know where that money is coming from?" The Bidens have released their tax returns for the years since they left the White House and the multi-million dollar income totaled over three years is clearly filed on the government documents. The tax returns show the former vice president and his wife earned the income from book deals, speaking engagements and educational salaries.

The claim appeared as a post (archived here) published on Facebook on October 18, 2020. It opened:

Joe & Jill Biden's income went from $396,456 in 2016, to $16,596,979 in 2017-2019. Anyone else want to know where that money is coming from?

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Oct 20 18:24:17 2020 UTC)

The Bidens' earnings since he ended his tenure as vice president are all public record.

Social media users questioned where the income was coming from.

Posted by Kitty Freed on Sunday, October 18, 2020

The former Vice President and his wife have reported earning $16.5 million total from book deals and speaking engagements since 2016.

Their income increase was reported on their 2019 tax returns which were made public in September 2020, Business Insider reported in an article titled "Joe and Jill Biden reported earning $16.5 million from book deals and speaking engagements since leaving the White House."

For 2019, the Bidens reported earning over $944,000 in taxable income. The couple paid slightly more than $346,000 in taxes, and received a refund of nearly $47,000 in 2019, according their tax returns.

Previously published tax returns by the Bidens were reported in 2019 in the Boston Globe.

Here is the breakdown of their reported earnings in the three years:

$11 million in 2017, immediately after leaving the White House
$4.5 million in 2018
$944,000 in 2019

Joe Biden's book tour for his 2017 memoir, "Promise Me, Dad," earned several thousands of dollars, and he continued to earn royalties from his 2008 book, "Promises to Keep."

They each reported income from their salaries as professors -- Joe Biden had an affiliation with the Ivy League school the University of Pennsylvania and Jill Biden had her long-time job as a community college professor in Virginia.

Both Bidens received speaking engagement fees after leaving the White House, records show.

According to their tax returns, they paid $5.5 million in federal taxes between those three years, NBC News reported.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

This fact check is available at IFCN's 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

Different viewpoints

Note: if reading this fact check makes you want to contact us to complain about bias, please check out our Red feed first.

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion