Can You Claim a Disabled Person on Your IRS Income Tax?

by Stephanie Faris ; Updated August 02, 2018
Reduce your tax bill by claiming all eligible dependents.

If you have a disabled minor living in your home as a dependent, your tax filings are fairly straightforward. Any child serves as a dependent until the age of 19 unless they attend college, at which point you can continue to claim dependency until they reach age 24. But for parents of disabled children, the ability to claim that child can continue indefinitely, as long as she meets IRS qualifications. Disabled parents and siblings can also be claimed at any age, as long as they’re truly dependent on you.


  • You can claim a disabled individual on your income tax, provided the person meets the age, relationship, income and medical requirements as defined by the IRS.

Claiming a Disabled Person on Taxes

Most often, the disabled person you’re claiming on your taxes will be a child. To suit the IRS’s requirements, the child must meet the age, relationship, residency and joint return tests. If the child is permanently and totally disabled, he doesn’t have to meet any age requirements, as long as he can’t be gainfully employed because of his condition and a doctor can certify that the condition will last for at least one year or could lead to death.

You can also claim a disabled adult living with you as a dependent, provided she lives with you for the full year or is a relative. However, even if the person isn’t a relative, you could claim her on your taxes, as long as she meets other IRS tests, such as living with you for the full year and not being claimable on a relative’s tax return.

Salary Restrictions and Exceptions

One important condition of the IRS disabled dependent test is salary. The dependent can’t make $4,050 or more during the tax year. However, under the IRS definition of a disabled child, a child or adult can earn income at a sheltered workshop without being penalized for earning above the maximum amount. To qualify, though, the disabled dependent must be at the sheltered workshop primarily due to the availability of medical care at that location. A sheltered workshop is a qualifying school that helps students with their disabilities.

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2018 Taxes and Tax Exemptions

Prior to 2017, up to $4,050 of your income was tax exempt if you had a disabled dependent on your taxes. However, the 2018 tax law changes wiped that exemption out, which means you can’t exempt any of your income with a disabled dependent on your taxes. If you based your withholdings on taking that credit, you may want to revisit your Form W-4 to ensure enough is being taken out of each check.

2017 Taxes and Tax Exemptions

If you’re claiming a disabled dependent on your 2017 taxes, you are entitled to a tax exemption of up to $4,050 each for yourself, your spouse and your dependent.

About the Author

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and finance writer whose work has appeared on The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, and Ecommerce Insiders.

Photo Credits

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