Household Size

Household Size in 90 Seconds:

A Basic Explanation

If you’re applying for government money to help you pay for health insurance, you’ll need to say how many people are in your household.

Your household includes the people that you put on your tax form: you, your spouse, and any children or relatives you financially support.

Household Size at a Glance

Household Size Animation GetInsured

Expert Advice About Household Size

If you live alone and you don’t have any dependents, figuring out who’s in your household is simple: You’re in a household of one. And no, Fluffy and Spot don’t count.

If you have family members, that’s where it can get a little confusing. Generally speaking, you look to your tax return for the answer. If you file jointly with someone or declare someone as a dependent on your returns, then that person is part of your household.

Household doesn’t necessarily mean the people who live with you. Here’s where it gets tricky: Just because someone lives with you doesn’t mean they’re part of your household. And a household member doesn’t always have to live with you. Let’s look at some typical examples:

  • If you live with a partner you’re not married to and don’t claim that person as a dependent on your tax return, don’t count him or her as part of your household.
  • If you claim a child as a dependent but he or she has gone off to college, lives with your ex, or doesn’t live at home for some other reason, then you do count that child as part of your household.
  • If you and your spouse are still married and file tax returns jointly but live in separate houses, then you and your spouse are part of the same household.
  • If your mother lives with you, files her own tax return, and is not your dependent, then she is not in your household. If she lives on her own but you claim her as a dependent, then she is part of your household.
  • If you declare your 30-year-old autistic son as a dependent on your tax return, he’s part of your household.

When filling out your application, DO include:

  • Yourself
  • Your spouse
  • Children you declare as dependents
  • A partner you’re not married to but claim as a dependent
  • Anyone else you include on your tax return as a dependent, even if they don’t live with you
  • Anyone else under the age of 21 you take care of and who lives with you

DON’T include:

  • A partner you’re not married to who doesn’t need health coverage and is not your dependent
  • Your partner’s children, if they are not your dependents
  • Your parents who live with you but file their own tax return and are not your dependents
  • Any other relatives who file their own tax return and are not your dependents

Note: This information should not be construed as tax advice.