Caretaker relatives are an exception to the MAGI Household Composition. Caretaker relatives can make application for a dependent child and themselves if the caretaker relative is assuming primary responsibility of the child. The caretaker relative must meet income guidelines for MHN.
Claiming the child as a tax dependent can demonstrate an assumption of primary responsibility, however it is not the sole determining factor. A caretaker relative must live in the same household as the dependent child, assume primary responsibility, and be related to the dependent child.
NOTE: The caretaker relative assuming primary responsibility of the child does not have to be claiming the child as a tax dependent.
A caretaker relative relationship can be defined as the child’s parent, or as:
- Any blood relative including those of half-blood and including first cousins, first cousins of parents, nephews, or nieces.
- Relationships to persons of preceding generations as denoted by prefixes of grand, great, or great-great.
- Relationship to a person through marriage such as stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, and stepsister.
- A relationship to a person through legally adopting a child or adopting the parent of a child, and other relatives by adoption that meets the criteria established for blood relatives.
NOTE: Caretaker relatives by marriage are still to be included even if the marriage has been terminated, either by death or divorce. The caretaker relative must be assuming primary responsibility for the dependent child as defined above.
EXAMPLE: Jon lives with, and is the uncle to, Gavin, age 10. Jon is the caretaker relative to Gavin. Jon is not a tax filer and Gavin is not expected to be claimed as a tax dependent by anyone else. Jon applies for MHN for himself and Gavin. Jon’s MAGI household size is 1 for himself and Gavin’s MAGI household is 1 for himself. Non-tax filer rules apply for the dependent child.
The tax filer of the dependent child may reside in the same home as the caretaker relative and the dependent child, when the tax dependent child is an in-common child of the tax filer and the caretaker relative.
EXAMPLE: Melissa applied for MHN for herself and her two children. She lives with the father of her children but she is not married to the father. The father claims the children as tax dependents. Melissa does not work and does not file taxes. Melissa’s household would follow non-tax filer rules. She would be eligible for MHF as a household size of 3 (herself and two children), if all other eligible criteria are met. The children’s household size is four: the two children, the mother and the father.
Client’s statement is acceptable when a person is claiming to be a caretaker relative of a child. If the situation is questionable or if the tax filer disputes the caretaker relative’s statement, request further documentation.