I am currently enrolled in the PSLF program, have consolidated with Fed Loan and am completing my first year in the program. I am in the process of recertifying my IBR plan but am unsure of how to approach my family size in the recertification. I live with two older retired relatives and pay more than half of the housing costs, but the mortgage is not under my name. I live with my spouse and child as well. I make slightly more than my spouse and have filed separate but married on my taxes. The IBR plan I did last year, with the help of an agency to get me enrolled in the program, has included my elderly relatives as dependents, but I'm not sure if I should continue this. The benefit of doing so is that it reduces my monthly student loan payment to a more manageable rate and I'm under the impression that the IBR's definition of dependent is different than the IRS. However, I neither want to be fraudulent nor jeopardize my PSLF program. My elderly relatives are not listed as dependents on my tax return. Does the PSLF program scrutinize the dependent portion of the IBR very closely or is living with relatives and sharing a significant burden of their housing cost constitute grounds enough to consider them as dependents within the IBR plan with FedLoan? Any advice on how to approach this issue? Thank you.
You should be relying on the IRS definition of a dependent. Here's a good resource for figuring it out: https://www.irs.gov/uac/who-can-i-claim-as-a-dependent