Definition - What does Dependent mean?

A dependent is someone who is legally the financial responsibility of another person. A dependent can be a minor child or an incapacitated or elderly adult.

A dependent does not have the capacity to make their own decisions, either by virtue of their age or their mental capacity.

While circumstances such as giving birth to a child gives a parent an automatic dependent through the child being born, the court can also order a dependent status be placed on a person for their own good. There are specific rules that dictate the circumstances in which a person can be certified by the court as a dependent.

Justipedia explains Dependent

The court can order that a person becomes a dependent of their relative, or someone else of their choosing, but can also dictate that the dependent should be placed under the care of a court-appointed guardian.

When a person becomes a dependent, they are not allowed to be in charge of their own finances; therefore, their guardian would receive any payments that would be to the benefit of the dependent, and then would be responsible for ensuring that all the dependent's financial needs are met.

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