If my son put me down as a dependent, would it affect my income eligibility for Medicaid long term care?
No, your son claiming you as a dependent on his tax returns should not impact your income eligibility for Medicaid. In fact, it should not impact your Medicaid eligibility in anyway. This remains true regardless of if you plan to apply for Medicaid in the future or if you currently are a Medicaid beneficiary. However, we would caution your son from depositing money into your bank account as a means for him to support you. Below, we will go into more detail as to why this isn’t suggested.
In order for a senior to be eligible for Medicaid, there is an income and asset limit. These financial limits vary based on the state in which one resides and the Medicaid program for which one is applying (Aged, Blind and Disabled “ABD” Medicaid, Home and Community Based Services “HCBS” Medicaid Waiver, and Nursing Home Medicaid). However, generally speaking, for long-term care Medicaid (nursing home Medicaid and HCBS Medicaid Waivers), the income limit is approximately $2,349 / month and the asset limit is $2,000. For ABD Medicaid, the income limit is often lower and is approximately $783 / month or $1,063 / month and the asset limit is $2,000. (To see income and asset limits by state and program, click here).
We mention above how we don’t suggest that your son deposit money into your bank account each month for your support. To be clear, doing so will not impact Medicaid’s asset limit in anyway. This is because you will spend the money each month and it won’t accumulate in your account. Therefore, it won’t count as an asset. However, although unlikely, the deposits could impact your income eligibility. This is because Medicaid might count these deposits as unearned income, which is calculated towards Medicaid’s income limit. Given that in order for your son to claim you as a dependent with the IRS, you must have a gross annual income no greater than approximately $4,200, your son would have to deposit a fairly large amount of money into your account each month for it to push you over Medicaid’s income limit. Since there is some risk, it is advised that money not be deposited into your account as a means to provide support.
That said, if you are receiving Medicaid benefits, your son may run into an issue with his ability to claim you as a dependent. Another criteria that must be met for your son to declare you as a dependent is that he must pay for more than 50% of your support during the tax year in which he plans to claim you. This includes rent, utilities, food, clothing, medical and dental expenses, transportation, and entertainment. Therefore, if the cost of your Medicaid services is greater than half of your support, your son cannot declare you as a dependent.