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what is a dependent spouse


worriedshrimp

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greetings,

my question regards the qualification of a spouse or dependent and the differences. does a significant other of 30 plus years count as a spouse?. i am 30 percent disabled and would like to know if i qualify for the additional rate of 522.39 per month with my SO as the dependent. is there an income threshold? we are both retired.

any clarification by someone who has surmounted this issue would be greatly appreciate.
further detailed knowledge via links especially welcomed.
thank you 
tws

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Welcome  to Hadit, Worriedshrimp. I'm doubtful that the VA has revised the definition of spouse, but it most likely is defined in their M-21 manual. If you are rated at least 30% and your spouse is housebound you would be eligible for additional monthly income under Aid & Attendance -spouse. Rate based on your combined rate at 30% would be $51.00 a month. see https://veteran.com/va-disability-rates/

 

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Not everyone has a wedding ceremony, who is married.  

In many states, its called a common law wife.  

    If you have "introduced" this woman as your wife, then she could be considered your spouse in some states.   

    However, at least for her benefit, you may consider making it "official", by at least getting a marriage license from the justice of the peace.  

There are many other benefits for her "being your spouse" such as community property. 

But, you cant have it both ways.  You cant "be married" for VA, and "single" for other purposes, such as the IRS.  Do you file a joint tax return?

(Not all married couples file a joint return, you have the option of "married, filing separate return". ) 

    By living together, without the benefit of getting married, and listing yourself as "single" on other documents, you are mostly hurting yourself and her.  For example, if you reach 100 percent, P and T, she could get Champva, and a bunch of other benefits such as DIC, as well as chapter 35 education benefits.  

     You need to decide "if you are married or not".  You cant be both.   

    For IRS purposes, "dependent" means you contribute over half of the support.  I have no idea if you do that or not. 

     This "grey area" of whether or not she is your wife, could come back to haunt you and her in other areas.  

    There is nothing wrong with "not combining finances" such as a bank account, and still be married, if that is the route you choose.  

     My advice, therefore is:

"If" you consider this woman your common law wife, then by all means claim her as a dependent.  

However, "if" you tell others that she is your "roomate", and not your spouse, I certainly would never recommend misrepresenting her as your

spouse.  You may need to "get off the fence" and move to one side or the other, married or unmarried.  

     If you keep "walking the fence," you will likely fall off.  This is a conversation you should be having with your 30 year partner, and, if you agree, take the appropriate action.   Nobody on this forum can "decide if you are man and wife" or not, this needs to be done by you and her.  

    If I recall, Carlie had problems with this (Carlie was a former hadit member, now deceased).  Im not sure of the outcome.  I am fairly certain it was complicated further by her spouse being a same sex spouse.  I seem to have read before, that, if you "take the plunge" and get married, same sex or not, than you are married and they are eligiblle for benefits.  What I read is that same sex "married" couples get the same benefits as opposite sex married couples.  But you have to get married, and make it legal and binding. 

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Not everyone has a wedding ceremony, who is married.  

In many states, its called a common law wife.  

    If you have "introduced" this woman as your wife, then she could be considered your spouse in some states.   

    However, at least for her benefit, you may consider making it "official", by at least getting a marriage license from the justice of the peace.  

There are many other benefits for her "being your spouse" such as community property. 

But, you cant have it both ways.  You cant "be married" for VA, and "single" for other purposes, such as the IRS.  Do you file a joint tax return?

(Not all married couples file a joint return, you have the option of "married, filing separate return". ) 

    By living together, without the benefit of getting married, and listing yourself as "single" on other documents, you are mostly hurting yourself and her.  For example, if you reach 100 percent, P and T, she could get Champva, and a bunch of other benefits such as DIC, as well as chapter 35 education benefits.  

     You need to decide "if you are married or not".  You cant be both.   

    For IRS purposes, "dependent" means you contribute over half of the support.  I have no idea if you do that or not. 

     This "grey area" of whether or not she is your wife, could come back to haunt you and her in other areas.  

    There is nothing wrong with "not combining finances" such as a bank account, and still be married, if that is the route you choose.  

     My advice, therefore is:

"If" you consider this woman your common law wife, then by all means claim her as a dependent.  

However, "if" you tell others that she is your "roomate", and not your spouse, I certainly would never recommend misrepresenting her as your

spouse.  You may need to "get off the fence" and move to one side or the other, married or unmarried.  

     If you keep "walking the fence," you will likely fall off.  This is a conversation you should be having with your 30 year partner, and, if you agree, take the appropriate action.   Nobody on this forum can "decide if you are man and wife" or not, this needs to be done by you and her.  

    If I recall, Carlie had problems with this (Carlie was a former hadit member, now deceased).  Im not sure of the outcome.  I am fairly certain it was complicated further by her spouse being a same sex spouse.  I seem to have read before, that, if you "take the plunge" and get married, same sex or not, than you are married and they are eligiblle for benefits.  What I read is that same sex "married" couples get the same benefits as opposite sex married couples.  But you have to get married, and make it legal and binding. 

 

    To add, my brother "lived with his girl friend" and had 3 children.  They got a divorce.  So, they were recognized as "married" by the state.  

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There are additional forms to complete for common law marriages not just a 686 with marriage certificate and common law marriage has to be recognized in the state you live in. The additional forms are the 4170 (one for you and one for spouse) and 4171 (witnesses at least two that can confirm you live as spouses).

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