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FAFSA Question: No Parent Income

needinf0needinf0 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
My mom's been unemployed since November 2009 and had no income for all of 2010 (She is not married, and I'm her dependent). She's currently going through the process of getting social security disability (she stopped working due to the disability, and her hearing for social security is coming up this year). She does not plan on filing a 1040, because she had no income from working in 2010. Can I get her to file one anyways? Also, if I get requested to verify family income (which I did for my incoming year to college), what would I do since she didn't fill out a 1040? I have all her documentation about her disability, if I need that (or can use it) to verify income/no employment. She also gets food stamps (social welfare-- I mention this since I think that's a FAFSA question). Her only income in 2010 was child support payments she received for me until I turned 18.

I see there's an option I can pick for the question regarding parent income and responding 'Parent will not file' (or something along those lines). Will I have to go back and revise that later, or can I go through this entire FAFSA process without a parent 1040?

Everything seemed pretty clear to me with what to do since when I filled out the FAFSA before, when it was in 2010 and based on 2009's income (when she worked). I don't know how to approach this given the new situation.

Advice? Thanks!
Post edited by needinf0 on

Replies to: FAFSA Question: No Parent Income

  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Registered User Posts: 5,746 Senior Member
    No, she should not file if she's not required to...that's what "will not file" is for! You will not enter any income from work and it sounds as if you will qualify for the Auto 0 EFC, so you may not even see the question about untaxed income (child support, untaxed disability income, etc.) or questions about your own income/taxes. Best of luck to you and your mom with her upcoming hearing...next year remember that the untaxed portion of her SSDI benefits (and SSI, if she receives that) is not reported on FAFSA either.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Super Moderator Posts: 14,542 Super Moderator
    Aha ... I just posted about this on the "make it easier" thread!!

    Your mom does NOT have to file a tax return for you to get aid. She only has to do so if she is REQUIRED to do so. You will say that she will not file. Her income from work will be 0. You will check that she receives federal aid (I think it actually lists the types & you check the correct box). You will list the child support payments in the parent untaxed income section (it is not going to increase your EFC, which will be Automatic 0).

    If you are selected for verification, your mother will complete the school's parent non tax filer form. She will list the amounts for child support and food stamps. Do not list the disability benefits if they were not received in 2009; however, if she does have them by the time she completes the form, she can note that she will be receiving them effective (fill in the date). The purpose of the non filer form is to help the aid officer understand how your mother supported her family on no income, so it is important to list any income and benefits she received in 2010 on the form.

    OOPS ... cross posted with sk8rmom, and she is correct ... your mom won't even be asked for the child support amount because the FAFSA will let her skip it. She would put it on the verification forms, though, if you are verified.
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Registered User Posts: 5,746 Senior Member
    needinf0, since your aid for this academic year was based on 2009, I'm wondering if you ever made the school aware of the change in your mom's income for 2010 and if they adjusted your aid for this year based upon that? In other words, did they adjust your 2010/11 EFC and financial aid due to her disability?
  • needinf0needinf0 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thanks for the great responses! Now this brings me to a totally different question. Given that she will not be filing (and it looks like I don't have to force her into it nor will I be penalized in any way for her not doing so), does that mean I can claim an education tax credit, since she won't be claiming me as a dependent? I pretty much threw my summer earnings from 2010 into tuition.

    Based on what I'm seeing at Publication 970 (2009), Tax Benefits for Education (And more specifically, this flowchart on the webpage: (http://www.irs.gov/publications/images/25221v33.gif) I'm thinking I can.)

    @sk8rmom: Thanks. It's been a long wait. She put her SS application in over a year ago. The paperwork for some reason goes slow through them... I notified the school about her being out of work (that the last of our income was going to be child support) in appeals after I got my financial aid package. They increased my grant. I could appeal again, probably, once she is on social security. She has documentation from her doctors that she is permanently disabled (at first she was classified 'temporarily disabled' until all the medical information was reviewed and then determined she will be permanently disabled). I was confused in thinking that she wasn't considered 'disabled' unless she was a SSD recipient. Anywho, I just got of the phone with her (that's why my reply is late--sorry!), and she said that I should consider filing head-of-household and getting what tax credits that I can, and that I claim her as a dependent. She then cautioned that doing all of this might have huge impacts on my aid (because we're both to some degree clueless on this lol). No matter how you cut it, our earnings are very low and my earnings are more than hers, so I see no significant impact on the way we file. It just means I'll be doing more reading on how to file!
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Registered User Posts: 5,746 Senior Member
    Okay, that's good that your school is award and adjusted your aid for this year. I think swimcatsmom and other regulars here are better with the tax thing than I am but sounds like you can claim an educational tax credit and Pub 970 will guide you in that process. Did you actually provide more than 50% of your mom's support last year? If she was getting any disability income (ie from a state or other plan), plus child support, plus whatever other benefit programs she may have qualified for (TANF, food stamps, etc.) then that seems unlikely. Also, I believe you would have had to have paid more than 50% of your own support...again, if the college/government is paying I'm not sure what the implications are. Hopefully one of the tax gurus will weigh in...if not, please research the HOH qualifications carefully and/or consult a tax advisor!
  • needinf0needinf0 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Went through 2009's taxes. The only thing cool about those was the earned income tax credit, which my mom claimed. I couldn't claim that tax credit, so there's virtually no benefit for me to do HoH (if I could) versus single. I might as go ahead and do single then. (And as previously suggested, her benefits most likely outweigh my income anyways).

    Alright, I guess I have no further questions. Thank you so much everyone! :)
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Registered User Posts: 5,746 Senior Member
    Yes, I thought that's what your mom might have been thinking of. Unfortunately, without earned income, she can't claim an EIC for 2010. Good luck!
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