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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

How to Get "Dependent Relative" on Medi-Cal?

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Question: My 28 year-old daughter lives with me. She is unemployed, no unemployment benefits, currently zero income. I have employer-based insurance for myself, and my income is over the thresholds for ACA subsidies. If my daughter earns nothing for the whole of 2016 (or less than $4,000) she is my "dependent relative". My question is, does that necessarily make us both part of one household, and therefore disqualify her for Medi-Cal because of my income? What happens if I choose to NOT claim her, even though I could?

Answer: Your daughter should apply for Medi-Cal directly through your county office. Medi-Cal is only interested in your daughter's income and assets. That way you can continue to claim her as a "dependent relative" on your tax return.


Russ …

Either your daughters are your dependents and their eligibility for Medi-Cal (or not) will be based on your income and household size, or they are not your dependents and eligible for Medi-Cal based on their income (or lack thereof). The only conflict is that YOU cannot have it both ways.

Both my twin daughters are unemployed for the entire year of 2017, their health is covered by Medi-CAL. I am getting conflicting information that if I claim them as my dependents on my income return taxes, Medi-CAL will suspens/stop their health coverage. They are both attending schools, full time after completing Bachelor. still going to school due to difficulty finding jobs. Thank you,,,,,

Diane V …

Unless your mother is in need of Long Term Care assistance, her dependency on you is not a factor for Medi-Cal eligibility. She can be claimed as your dependent, and she can file a $0 income federal tax return, which is proof of income showing that she is eligible for Medi-Cal.

Hi Phil, My mom is currently on Medi-Cal and does not have any source of income. I do not live with her, but I do cover at least 80% of her expenses and own the house in which she currently resides. I have health insurance through my work. If I claim my mom as a dependent on my taxes, will this affect her eligibility for Medi-Cal? Would it make a difference if I file as Head of Household or Single?

Phil …

Filing a tax return has nothing to do with someone else being able to claim a person as a dependent. The person who is being claimed as a dependent simply cannot claim the “personal exemption” that the taxpayer also claims. The only result is that the dependent potentially has a larger tax liability. But, what the heck, if the 28-year-old “child” has no income, she also has no tax liability. Everyone in that household wins.

And the rest of us taxpayers lose. Newton’s Fourth Law of Taxation — for every dependent dollar deducted by one taxpayer, some other childless taxpayer.will be forced to cover it. Newton’s Fifth Law of Taxation — for every Premium Tax Credit doled out in respect of the PPACA, every current US taxpayer’s great-great-grandchild will still be stuck paying that bill — if there still is an America 150 years from now.

According to www.usdebtclock.org — as I type this, there are more than 322,887,500 persons in the US population (growing at the rate of 1 every 17 seconds). There are 119,623,400+ taxpayers (growing, thankfully, at the rate of 1 every 13 seconds). But there are also 160,948,000+ persons receiving some form of federal cash or in-kind welfare benefit (SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, Food Stamps) and growing at the rate of 1 every 15 seconds. We are not generating enough new taxpayers to offset the growth in “entitlement” spending. On top of that, the long-term unfunded liabilities of just Social Security and Medicare are currently estimated at $100,893,600,000,000 and growing at the rate of $1,000,000 EVERY 7 SECONDS — that’s a bit more than $8,000,000 per minute, or about $50,000,000 per hour, or $120,000,000 per day, or $840,000,000 per week, or $25.2 BILLION PER MONTH. That’s a mere $302 BILLION per year.

There is one white-haired candidate running for POTUS.who wants to replace Obamacare with a “single-payer system” modeled after Medicare. Do you think he cares that the Medicare unfunded liability is 2/3 of the current unfunded liabilities I just mentioned? And it’s looking more and more like he may just be one of the candidates running in the General Election in November.

Until a lot more someones besides me start to care, America will continue to look a lot like the proverbial barrel going over Niagara Falls — perhaps within some of our lifetimes.

Max, The father wants to continue claiming the daughter. If she applies through CC, she will have to promise to file a tax return, leaving the father unable to claim her.

Your daughter can apply for Medi-Cal through the CoveredCA online application. This will actually be better than applying through the local county Medi-Cal agency because it will facilitate enrollment in a health plan should her income change during the year.

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