Financial resources for grandparents raising grandchildren

Published 10:37am Friday, June 8, 2012

Tax benefits
In addition to the financial assistance resources, Uncle Sam offers some tax benefits that may help you too like the Dependency Exemption, which allows you to deduct $3,800 in 2012 on each qualifying grandchild.
There’s also the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC, which is available to those with moderate to low incomes, or the Child Tax Credit if you make too much money to qualify for the EITC.
If you’re working, and are incurring child care expenses in order to work, there’s a Child and Dependent Care Credit that can help. And, if you choose to legally adopt your grandkids, there’s an Adoption Credit that provides a federal tax credit of up to $12,650 per child.
There are even education-related tax credits through the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit to help if your grandkids go to college.
To learn more about these tax benefits call 800-829-1040, or visit www.irs.gov. You can also call the IRS publication line at 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail you the following publications: 501, 503, 596, 970, 972 and Form 8839.
Health Insurance
If your grandkids need health insurance, depending on your income level, you may be able to get free or low-cost health insurance through your state’s Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. See insurekidsnow.gov or call 877-543-7669 for more information.
Legal issues
You also need to talk to a family law attorney to discuss the pros and cons of obtaining legal guardianship, custody or adoption. Without some sort of legal custody, you may not be eligible for many of the previously listed financial assistance programs, and there can be problems with basic things like enrolling your grandkids in school, or giving a doctor permission to treat them.
If your need help locating affordable or free legal assistance use findlegalhelp.org, or call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 for referrals.
Savvy tip: To find support with other grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, visit the AARP GrandCare Support Locator at giclocalsupport.org where you can search for support groups in your area.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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