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Last year, we had to file a tax return for my son, as his income exceeded the threshold for claiming him as a dependent. ... He's just now turning 13,

Hang on there.

For a child under 18, there is no income test. He is almost always going to be your dependent. The only way I can think of that he wouldn't qualify as your dependent is if he provided more than 1/2 of his own support. That might be possible if the lump sum from social security was large enough and used for that purpose. Any part of it that was saved was not used for support.

Otherwise, while he would need to file a return if he has sufficient income, he'd still be your dependent assuming you provide more than 1/2 of his support. You would claim him as a dependent on your return, and he would not claim himself on his own return.

For years going forward, normal social security benefits are not large enough to require a return to be filed. It would take some other source of income to trigger a filing requirement. And assuming you continue to provide more than 1/2 of his support, you would claim him as a dependent, even if he needs to file a return.

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