Is my 18-year-old former stepson my dependent?

August 22, 2011

From:  Michele
Date:  Wed, 27 Jun 2007
Subject:  Question about Claiming former Step son as dependent.

Is my 18-year-old former stepson considered my dependent? He lived with me for the first 13 years of his life, before I was divorced from his father. His father passed away two years ago, when my former stepson was 16.

The boy lives with me full time. I will support him through his last year of high school and through college. I am also adding him to my health and dental insurance.


Date:  2 Jul 2007

Hello Michele,

The answer is more difficult than you might think.

Since he is no longer your stepson, he is no longer a "qualifying child".

You can claim him as a dependent while he is living in your home and you are providing more than half of his support, providing he does not have gross income exceeding $3,400 for 2007.

Has he applied for social security benefits as an orphan of his father?

Consider legally adopting him to get the benefits of being able to continue claiming a dependent exemption when he is a full-time student through age 23, despite his income level. You should get legal advice about your responsibilities and update your will before taking this step.

Good luck!

Mike Gray

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