Can I claim Mom as a dependent?

Judy O'ConnorDear Tax Talk,
My mom is 63 years old and my dad passed away six years ago. Mom is currently receiving Social Security survivors benefits and Medicare. She does not work and has no income. I am currently supporting her throughout the year. Will I be able to claim Mom as a dependent?

The most important thing is: Will she stop receiving her Social Security or Medicare benefits if I claim her as a dependent on my taxes?
-- Jay

Dear Jay,
Your mother is fortunate to have you as her son. As your mother, she is considered to be a qualifying relative and does not even have to live with you in order for you to claim the exemption. If she had gross income over $3,900, then you would not be able to claim her. But fortunately for you, her Social Security income is not included in the $3,900 gross income test.

However, there is one more hurdle for you: That is, you are going to have to determine if you pay more than one-half of her total support for the year. If you do, then yes, you will be able to claim her as a dependent. Her total support includes housing, food, utilities, clothing, travel and recreation, medical and dental expenses.

Her Social Security and Medicare benefits should not be affected if you claim her.

Thanks for the question.

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