skip to main content
modern technology happy mother daughter selfie
  • By Elizabeth Wolleben Yoder
  • Posted November 15, 2022

Do I Have To Stop Claiming My Disabled Child As A Dependent When They Start Receiving SSI?

I won’t leave you in suspense. The answer is no if you provide more than half of their financial support. Claiming your disabled child as a dependent has no impact on their eligibility for Social Security. In turn, their Social Security has no impact on your tax return either. You claiming them is just the above. You are stating that you are covering at least half of their annual expenses.

What kind of support?

The Social Security Administration views itself as responsible for the most basic needs of a person, covering food and housing. A disabled adult on SSI can also be eligible for other supports too including food support, housing reduction support, medical support, and community integration support of Medicaid programs (can include budgets or direct financial support for caregivers, job coaches, and much more). The support the IRS is asking for includes anything. What does it look like to live your child’s life and who is responsible for making the payments?

Determine your child’s lifestyle

Does SSI cover all of your child’s lifestyle? Very likely not. But does it cover half? You should be reviewing all the direct costs that are associated with your adult child’s life and get a clear picture of the support you are providing for them.

One way to easily look at this question is to review their SSI payment. In 2023, the maximum amount received by SSI will be $914 a month, totaling $10,968 a year. If your child can live on $20,000 a year with all of their needs and lifestyle, you should not be claiming them as a dependent, because their benefits are covering over half of their annual financial needs for either 2022 or 2023.

However, if rent, food, school, medical, social, hobbies, transportation, et al. total over $21,936 a year and they aren’t earning their own income, you can continue to claim them as a dependent on your tax return for 2023. When income is being earned adjust accordingly to include their income. Our Certified Neurodiversity Professionals and Financial Planners provide SSI calculations to determine eligibility.

You can, but should you?

When you can claim your disabled child as a dependent, it is always important to review why. Are there high unreimbursed medical expenses? Can they be met by working with an in-network provider or by reviewing the health insurance policy your disabled child has is the most effective? Our insurance specialist can review if you have the best fit plan for your needs. You also want to make sure “every stupid benefit”, is received to reduce your whole family’s need to make out-of-pocket payments. The certified financial planners specializing in government benefits planning for the disabled and neurodiverse.

Review with a financial planner your own ability to secure your retirement goals so that you can continue to support your child in the lifestyle they expect beyond your lifetime. How do you plan to support your neurodivergent or disabled child long-term in that lifestyle? Set goals for greater independence and less reliance on the “bank of mom and dad” to protect your neurodivergent or disabled child from future lifestyle shifts. Losing a parent is hard enough without the death impacting someone’s ability to continue living their life as accustomed. We here at Planning Across the Spectrum, understand these struggles better than most.

Contact Planning Across the Spectrum for neurodiverse certified financial planning services.