Claiming a relative with Medi-Cal as a Dependent

February 26, 2014 - Extra

What I Found Out Today: I went in to do my taxes early this season and in the process of determining what other deductions we may have, we realized that we could claim my grandmother as a dependent. 

Made sense. She lives with us. She makes no money. We completely support her.

The only wrinkle was that my grandmother receives Medi-Cal, so we didn’t want to jeopardize her ability to continue receiving that support. Our thinking was if we claimed her on taxes as a dependent, that it could potentially disqualify her from future Medi-Cal benefits.

Surprisingly (or not), looking online wasn’t much help for this unique tax and social service question. Not Yahoo Answers. Not DHCS. Not CalOptima.

Ultimately, I got Medi-Cal on the phone, and it turns out that yes, you can claim a relative as a dependent on your income taxes and it shouldn’t jeopardize that dependent’s Medi-Cal benefits.

I was told that just as long as the Medi-Cal recipient marked themselves as a dependent on their Medi-Cal application. Simply, you need to identify as a dependent if you are to be claimed as a dependent.

Phew. Taxes are crazy.

› tags: brother / California / disabled / grandmother / Health policy / income taxes / Medi-Cal / Medicaid / mother / relative / sister / taxes / tips /


  1. Adrian88 says:

    But then the questions are these:
    1. DID she mark herself as your dependent when she applied for Medi-Cal? and
    2. Would marking herself as your dependent on her Medi-Cal application or renewal disqualify her from Medi-Cal?

    The person you talked to at Medi-Cal assumed that your grandmother marked “dependent” on her application, but that is probably not the case since you only just thought about her as a dependent long after the Medi-Cal application was taken.

  2. Les.B. says:

    What if the Medi-Cal enrollee is not a relative? Does that change the result?

  3. Teresa says:

    Do you know if her share of cost (if any) changed since you are now claiming her on your taxes?

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