Some households include a disabled adult who is unable to work. Tax filers who provide support for a disabled adult family member may be able to claim that person as a tax dependent.
The typical dependent is a child or a young adult student. The main difference in claiming a disabled adult is that the usual age requirement does not apply. An adult family member who is considered to be completely disabled may qualify as a dependent at any age. The other requirements to claim a disabled adult as a dependent are similar to the requirements for claiming a child.
For tax purposes, the typical dependent is referred to a qualifying child. The term is actually more inclusive than it sounds. A qualifying child can be any descendant of you or your spouse. A qualifying child can even be any descendant of one of your siblings. A disabled dependent who is related to you as a qualifying child may also entitle you to claim the earned income credit.
A family member who is not a qualifying child might be eligible to be claimed as the other type of dependent, referred to as a qualifying relative. A deduction for a qualifying relative provides a reduction in your taxable income, but it does not allow you to claim the earned income credit.
The support test for a qualifying child is sometimes misconstrued. You don't necessarily have to provide over half of the individual's total support yourself. The requirement is that the individual does not provide over half of their own support. For a disabled adult, there may be other sources of support directly received by the individual that count toward their own support.
The support test for a qualifying relative is different. To claim a qualifying relative, you must have provided over half of their total support for the year.
A disabled adult family member must have resided with you in the same household for over half the year to be claimed as a qualifying child. To be claimed as a qualifying relative, the individual must have lived with you for the entire year.
A determination by a doctor is necessary to confirm a permanent disability. The medical conclusion should state that the family member is unable to work and that the disability is expected to last for at least a year or until death. Contact a tax preparer like Jack Landis And Company for more information about the tax consequences of caring for a disabled adult in your household.