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FAFSA Situation PLEASE HELP!

luis978luis978 5 replies1 threads New Member
Hello and thank you for your guy's time!

Here is my special FAFSA situation(or atleast i think it's special): I currently live in custody of my older sister and her fiance. My mother passed away and my father is irresponsible/negligent so he's out of the picture. I qualify as an "independent" for FAFSA. Do i put that i did not file for my 2013 taxes since my sister claimed me? What should i answer for question 44B:
Did you have any of the following items in 2013? Check all that apply and provide amounts.
Additional Financial Information

Child support paid

My dad does pay child support (because he's forced to) but i do not receive it. My sister does.

Am I suppost to be filling this out? Or my sister? I took the liberty of doing it myself since i qualified as "independent". Also, all of the questions were under Student's Information.... ex. Financial, academic, etc. Not my Legal guardians. (sister).

What should i answer for question 95: Your number of family members in 2014-2015 (household size)?

I put the # of people in my household(5). But it had an error because previously i put that no one was dependent of me. (question 51 Do you now have or will you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015?) and (question 52 Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2015?)? I put NO for both of those. but due to that i cannot answer 5 to the household question.

Please help! Thank you for your time everyone.
20 replies
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Replies to: FAFSA Situation PLEASE HELP!

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 84272 replies1048 threadsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    edited December 2014
    If you are independent, then in this case you are a household of ONE.

    You don't include your sister's income or the CS paid to her.

    You have no children that you support, and you have no dependents that live with you.

    You would only include YOUR income, if any. If your income was too low to have to file, then put "will not file."
    edited December 2014
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  • luis978luis978 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you so much.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76570 replies3389 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    Well...first. Take a deep breath. It's all going to get done! And be fine.

    If you are completing a FAFSA for the 2015-2016 school year...that one is not available yet. It will be available January 1. Make sure you are doing the correct form...not 2014-2015. That is not the right one for NEXT year.

    As an independent student...your household number would be one...just you. You aren't married, and you have no dependents. You do not include your sister's household members. You do not include your sister's financials. As an independent student, only YOUR info is required.

    For the 2015-2016 FAFSA, the 2014 tax year is used. If you are not required to file taxes and don't plan to, you file your FAFSA as "not filing". Just make sure you actually don't plan to file taxes.

    I'm not sure what you do about the child support if it goes to your sister.

    Oh...is your sister your legal, court appointed guardian? You should have papers someplace to verify this. You will likely need them at some point.
    edited December 2014
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  • luis978luis978 5 replies1 threads New Member
    She is my legal guardian. I do have papers for this.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76570 replies3389 threads Senior Member
    What FAFSA are you completing NOW? The 2015-2016 FAFSA is not yet available for completion.
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  • luis978luis978 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Also, i think i am doing the wrong one. oh darn. Should i delete all the info on it?
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  • thumper1thumper1 76570 replies3389 threads Senior Member
    No need to delete it...just wait until Thursday and do the correct one.

    I honestly do not know what to say about the child support since it goes to your sister.
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  • luis978luis978 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you,Thumper.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29936 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Hopefully kelsmom will get involved in this. The fact of the matter might lie in whether or not you are independent. If you were turned over to your sister due to agreement among her, your mother, your father, not because it was court ordered due to issues, you may not be independent. I could turn my kids over willingly to anyone who would accept them as legal guardian but that would not make them independent. My son's closest friend has his aunt as a legal guardian, because his parents are overseas, and they want him to be able to stay stateside in school. It was all done amicably. The young man is NOT independent even though his aunt is now his legal guardian.

    I don't know exactly what it takes to make some independent when the parents are still alive, but it often requires some termination of parental relations and obligations.

    I don't know how the child support would be treated either, if you do indeed meet the definition of independent. My guess, is unless parental rights have totally been terminated for cause, that your father is still going to be your parent though he is not custodial in the least, as he is paying your support. But it's just my guess. You might want to call a financial aid officer at one of your schools and run the situation by the person.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76570 replies3389 threads Senior Member
    Post 4 says the OP has papers for this legal guardianship.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29936 replies59 threads Senior Member
    ttps://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info#nonparent: It doesn’t matter if you don’t live with your parent or parents; you still must report information about them. The following people are not your parents unless they have legally adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, uncles or aunts, and widowed stepparents.

    Note that legal guardians are included in that list. As I mentioned, my son's friend's aunt has legal guardianship of him. Those papers do not mean that the young man is independent for FAFSA reasons. If my brother and I agree to make my son his guardian, that doesn't make my son independent for FAFSA purposes. If a child is taken by the court for cause away from the parents, and the "for cause" can be the sticking point, not because the parents agree, and the child becomes a ward of the state, then placed with others, that might fly. If the father just drifts away, and the sister gets legal guardian ship with parental right terminated, that might be an issue. Sybbie also might be able to expand on this. There are kids with parents in jail, but because their parental rights were not stripped from them, though those kids might be in foster homes, have legal guardians, when it comes to FAFSA, the parent is still the one who needs to complete it and the kid is not independent.

    I am not 100% sure about this. That parental relation has not been totally severed, with child support in the picture, I don't know if the child would be considered independent.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76570 replies3389 threads Senior Member
    I'm hoping Kelsmom will clarify.

    It was my understanding that if the student is NOW in a court ordered guardianship, that the student is independent for financial aid purposes. His parents do not both have to be dead (if they were he would be independent). And I don't believe parental rights need to be terminated.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23845 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Children can be under guardianship without parental rights being severed. In fact, almost all children are made wards of the court before guardianship is severed. Don't borrow trouble. He's sure he's independent and that's how he wants to file. I think he should answer the questions asked.

    Where the child support money may come in is if his sister is paying his individual bills - his cell phone bill, his insurance bill. He'd then have to report that as money paid on his behalf. Otherwise, just answer the questions.
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  • Madison85Madison85 10350 replies411 threads Senior Member
    Did you have a job in 2014? You may still need to file a tax return. It doesn't matter if your sister claims you - this doesn't remove your own tax return filing requirement if there is one.
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  • BrownParentBrownParent 12597 replies179 threads Senior Member
    The guidelines are clear, if you answer YES to this question then you are independent:

    Has it been determined by a court in your state of legal residence that you are an emancipated minor or that you are in a legal guardianship?
    https://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out/dependency

    The link @cptofthehouse gave only applies to dependent students. This student is in a legal guardianship and therefore independent. She is a household of one for FAFSA. I do not believe she reports any child support because that goes to the guardian who is providing housing/food and support for a minor.
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20830 replies2027 threads Super Moderator
    While Op's dad is his legal next of kin, if he is in court ordered legal guardianship, he will be considered an independent student.
    luis978 wrote:
    My dad does pay child support (because he's forced to) but i do not receive it. My sister does.

    Your sister receives the child support on your behalf, therefore, you must report the child support on the FAFSA.

    Luis, also keep in mind that just because you are independent for federal aid, you may not necessarily be independent for institutional aid; as schools may want and require your dad's income and assets on the CSS non-custodial profile. in this case, the school itself will have to issue a dependency override to determine if you are independent for institutional aid.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76570 replies3389 threads Senior Member
    Adding to that....there was a student a few years ago who applied to a college (Bates, I believe) and they actually asked for guardian financial information initially even though the student was independent for FAFSA purposes. Bates is also a Profile School.

    But from the posts and link just provided above, you are independent for FAFSA purposes...and only your information is used. And yes, it's your form so you can complete it.
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 15800 replies99 threads Senior Member
    IT sounds like the OP is in a court-ordered guardianship. That is the key - it has to be full guardianship, authorized by the court, and currently in effect (or in effect as of the student's 18th birthday). If this is the case, the student is independent, and the CS received by the sister is not reported by the student.

    If this is not the type of guardianship that counts, I would suggest that the student request a dependency override (given the circumstances). OP, you should talk with a financial aid officer at the school you want to attend. He/she will be able to review your guardianship papers.
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  • luis978luis978 5 replies1 threads New Member
    i'm sorry for the long wait. Yes, it is a court-ordered guardianship. The custody was forcibly removed from my father and transferred to my sister through the court. I was in foster care for about two weeks if that helps in any way.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76570 replies3389 threads Senior Member
    I'm sorry for,this situation, but it's good that your sister was there to help.

    Hang onto those court papers. At some point you may need them for some college(s) as documentation.

    Given that this is a court appointed guardianship, you are independent for financial and for FAFSA purposes...read the first paragraph in the post by Kelsmom again. It sums it up well...and accurately.
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