I am no longer working. I have Social Security and a pension from the state. No one else can claim the children. I have a state pension, but I haven't paid taxes on it as of yet.
If you have a taxable pension so that you can file a tax return, then you may qualify to claim the grandchildren. However, you will need to make sure that your income is higher than either one of the parents of the grandchildren and that you qualify to claim them under one of the sets of rules below.
In addition to the qualifications above, to claim an exemption for your child, you must be able to answer "yes" to all of the following questions.
- Are they related to you? The child can be your son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, adopted child or an offspring of any of them.
- Do they meet the age requirement? Your child must be under age 19 or, if a full-time student, under age 24. There is no age limit if your child is permanently and totally disabled.
- Do they live with you? Your child must live with you for more than half the year, but several exceptions apply.
- Do you financially support them? Your child may have a job, but that job cannot provide more than half of her support.
- Are you the only person claiming them? This requirement commonly applies to children of divorced parents. Here you must use the “tiebreaker rules,” which are found in IRS Publication 501. These rules establish income, parentage and residency requirements for claiming a child.
Many people provide support to their aging parents. But just because you mail your 78-year-old mother a check every once in a while doesn’t mean you can claim her as a dependent. Here is a checklist for determining whether your mom (or other relatives) qualifies.
- Do they live with you? Your relative must live at your residence all year or be on the list of “relatives who do not live with you” in Publication 501. About 30 types of relatives are on this list.
- Do they make less than $4,050 in 2017? Your relative cannot have a gross income of more than $4,050 in 2017 and be claimed by you as a dependent.
- Do you financially support them? You must provide more than half of your relative’s total support each year.
- Are you the only person claiming them? This means you can’t claim the same person twice, once as a qualifying relative and again as a qualifying child. It also means you can’t claim a relative—say a cousin—if someone else, such as his parents, also claim him.