Question

My family members receive social security and supplemental security income (SSI). Can I still claim them as dependents?

Answer

Maybe. Your relatives might be your qualifying children if both of these are true:

  • Your family members are any of these:
    • Under age 19 and younger than you or your spouse
    • Under age 24, a full-time student, and younger than you or your spouse
    • Permanently and totally disabled and any age
  • Your family members lived with you over half of the year.

However, there’s another part of the qualifying child rule — the support test. This test requires that your relatives don’t provide more than half their own support. It doesn’t mean you have to provide a certain amount of support. It only requires that your family members don’t provide too much of their own support.

Social security income is support provided by the individual, and government assistance, like SSI, is support that comes from a third party. This means it doesn’t come from you .

If your family member doesn’t qualify as a qualifying child, they might qualify as a dependent under the qualifying relative rules.

The support test under this rule requires that you provide more than half their support. So, if most of their support comes from government assistance, you won’t be able to claim them as dependents.

The qualifying-relative rule also has an income test. Your family members must have gross income that is less than $4,200. If the Social Security income is tax-exempt, these amounts aren’t included in your family members’ gross income.

There are additional requirements for your family members to qualify as your dependents.

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