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Can I claim someone as a dependent that gets social security

3 Replies
Expert Alumni

Can I claim someone as a dependent that gets social security

Yes, however they must qualify and one of the limitations is income, see below.


The first thing that often comes to mind when considering dependents is the parent/child relationship. But if you cared for an elderly parent, your parent may qualify as your dependent, resulting in additional tax benefits for you. Once you determine that both of you meet IRS criteria, you can claim your parent as a dependent on your tax return.


The bottom line is a dependent must be your “qualifying child” or “qualifying relative” and meet specific tests in order for you to claim them.

The 5 tests that will qualify a child as a dependent are:

  • Relationship: Must be your child, adopted child, foster child, brother or sister, or a descendant of one of these (grand or nephew).
  • Residence: Must have the same residence for more than half the year.
  • Age: Must be under age 19 or under 24 and a full-time student for at least 5 months. They can be any age if they are totally and permanently disabled.
  • Support: Must not have provided more than half of their own support during the year.
  • Joint Support: The child cannot file a joint return for the year.

The 4 tests that will qualify a relative as a dependent are:

  • Qualifying Child: They are not the “qualifying child” of another taxpayer or your “qualifying child.”
  • Gross Income: The dependent being claimed earns less than $4,300 in 2020 ($4,200 in 2019).
  • Total Support: You provide more than half of the total support for the year.
  • Member of Household or Relationship: The person (a friend, girlfriend, non-blood relative) must live with you all year as a member of your household or be related to you.

[edited 2/2/2021|0942PST]




Opus 17
Level 15

Can I claim someone as a dependent that gets social security

To claim an adult as a dependent, you must provide more than half their support, and they can't have more than $4300 of taxable income.  If the adult is not your parent, grandparent, or aunt or uncle, they must also live in your home the entire year.   Social security does not count as taxable income for the income test but it does count as support for the support test.  You may need to determine the person's total financial support (room and board, clothing, travel, entertainment, medical, etc.) and count their contributions (from social security, savings, etc.) and your contributions, to see if you pay more than half. 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
Level 3

Can I claim someone as a dependent that gets social security

It was so important that you mentioned that social security is not considered earned income for the income category.

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