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Can i claim my niece as a dependent who was on welfare money in 2016

She was on and off of her welfare money the whole year. They both lived with me the whole year of 2016, I would pay for the utilities, water & sewage, property taxes, home owners insurance. Some of the months within the year she did not have foodstamps and I had to supply my niece and her with food. My sister is a full time college student and did not work in the year of 2016 at all.
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Level 15

Can i claim my niece as a dependent who was on welfare money in 2016

Probably Not. Welfare is support you didn't provide. It may be necessary to do the support calculation to get an answer.

A person can still be a Qualifying relative dependent, if not a Qualifying Child**, if he meets the 6 tests for claiming a dependent:

1. Closely Related OR live with the taxpayer ALL year

2. His/her gross taxable income for the year must be less than $4,050 (2016)

3. The taxpayer must have provided more than 1/2 his support

4. He must be a US citizen or resident of the US, Canada or Mexico

5. He must not file a joint return with his spouse or be claiming a dependent of his own

6. He must not be the qualifying child of another taxpayer

Government benefits doesn't count as income, for the income test, but that money does count as support not provided by you, for the support test. 

The IRS has a worksheet that can be used to help with the support calculation. See: The support value of a home is the fair market rental value, divided by the number of occupants.

**If she is under age 19,  or under age  24 and a full time student, different (qualifying child) dependent rules apply and welfare isn't as important.

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