BREAKOUT SESSION 1: Understanding Eligibility and Benefits for Transition Aged Youth
AFDC-FC: Basic Eligibility • Categorical requirements of the child • Age, residency, immigration status, deprivation • Conditions of removal from the home and placement • Financial eligibility
Categorical Requirements: What does the child look like? • Age: • Under 19 (beginning January 1, 2012) • Under 20 (beginning January 1, 2013) • Youth 18 – 20 must meet additional eligibility requirements (more later) • Resides in California or under jurisdiction of CA dependency court • Immigration status • US citizen, qualified immigrant, PRUCOL* • Deprived of parental support by virtue of being in foster care • Federal: Death, incapacity, absence, unemployment of parent • State: Deprived of parental support
Condition of Removal from Home • Prior to Age 18 • Court Order/Judicial Determination • Continuing to live in the home would be contrary to welfare of the child; and • Reasonable efforts made to keep child in the home • Placement and care vested with county agency • Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) • Limited to 180 days under federal and state law • Return to home, file petition to maintain federal or state eligibility, or refer to adoption agency • Given up for adoption, or parental rights terminated • Living with a non-related legal guardian (state-only)
Placement Child (under 18) must be placed in an approved or licensed facility/home: • Approved home of a relative (federal foster care) • Approved home of a non-relative extended family member • Licensed family foster home • Certified home of a licensed foster family agency (FFA) (includes ITFC) • Living with non-related legal guardian (state foster care) • THPP • Tribal home • Licensed group home
Financial Eligibility: Federal AFDC-FC -- Linkage Rule Meet the 1996 AFDC criteria in the home of removal • in the month the petition is filed OR • in any of the 6 months prior to the month the petition is filed.
Federal AFDC-Linkage Test (cont.) • Once linkage met, does not have to be established again while child remains in foster care. • If remaining in care – no new linkage required • No new documentation required for youth continuing in care • For non-minor dependents re-entering foster care • New link is established based on youth’s income and property only • New documentation for youth reentering
AFDC-FC: What Do They Get? • Monthly cash benefit paid on a per-child basis • Can be paid to NMD directly if the NMD is living in a SILP (more later) • Full scope Medi-Cal, no share of cost • Other funded services/allowances as applicable • County clothing allowance (if provided), infant supplement
AFDC-FC: Monthly Cash Benefit • Foster Family Homes/ relatives/NRLG NREFM: • Basic rate: $621 (for ages 0 – 3) up to $776 (15 and older) • Specialized Care Increments: Range of rates varies by county • Foster Family Agencies: • Non-Treatment: $373 (for ages 0 – 3) up to $522 (15 and older) • Treatment: $1430 (for ages 0 – 3) up to $1679 (15 and older) • Intensive Treatment Foster Care: $2687 - $ 4028 (based on level of need) • Undergoing a rate restructure process • Group Homes: $ 2,159 - $9,146 (based on level of need) Rates are Per Child!
Specialized Care Increments • County supplement to the basic rate for the caring for children with medical or emotional/behavioral needs. • County creates its own policy on how child qualifies and the increment amounts. CDSS must approve the plan. • Most counties provide specialized care increment (except: Modoc, Plumas and Sierra) • Specialized Care Increments are only available to youth in a foster family homes, the approved home of a relative caregiver, NREFM and NRLG • Group homes, FFAs, THPP, THP-Plus FC, and SILPs do not qualify for specialized care increment
AFDC-FC: Regional Center Clients • Youth who receive AFDC-FC benefits and who are also regional center clients are eligible for a higher level of cash benefits called Dual Agency Rate. • Dual Agency Basic Rate: $2006 per month • Dual Agency Supplement to the Rate – Based on extraordinary care and supervision: increments of $250 up to $1000 • Early Start Intervention (ages 0-3): $898 • Regional Centers must purchase or secure services in the child’s IPP or IFSP • NMDs qualify for dual agency rate
AFDC-FC (Federal or State): When Does It End? Beginning January 1, 2012: AFDC-FC available up to age 19 Beginning January 1, 2013: AFDC-FC available up to age 20 Final extension to age 21 subject to legislative approval and cannot happen before January 1, 2014
High School Completion Rule and AB 12 As of January 1, 2012 – there is no more high school completion rule for NMDs participating in extended foster care No more high school completion rule for youth in group homes Remaining in group home after age 18 matter of educational stability High school completion rule still exists for certain groups that do not have access to extended benefits KinGAP youth who entered KinGAP prior to age 16 Youth with non-related legal guardianships created in probate court
Eligibility Basics for Extended Foster Care Benefits • Extended benefits available to youth (non-minor dependents or “NMDs”) who, at the time they turn 18: • Has an open juvenile court case at age 18 • Satisfy at least 1 of 5 participation requirements, • Meet with Social Worker and update TILCP/TILP • Court or administrative review every 6 months • Live in a licensed/approved supervised setting • Extended benefits also available to: • Youth with a Non-Related Legal Guardian created in juvenile court (regardless of age of youth when guardianship is created) • Youth who entered Kin-GAP or AAP at age 16 or older.
Phase-In: Who is eligible for extended foster care? • Youth under age 19 as of January 1, 2012 who have an open case. This includes: • All youth who turn 18 on or after January 1, 2012 • Youth who turn 18 during 2011 AND meet the current eligibility requirements (such as the high school completion rule) • Youth who turn 18 during 2011 who do not meet the high school completion rule provided the court retains jurisdiction
What Must a NMD Do to Receive Benefits – Participation Conditions • Participation Conditions: Must satisfy 1 of 5 as documented in the youth’s TILP • Be enrolled in high school or equivalent program • Be enrolled in college/vocational school • Work at least 80 hours/month • Participate in a program/activity that helps you find a job or removes barriers to employment (like substance abuse treatment) • Be unable to do one of the above because of a medical or mental health condition • Six-Month Certification of Participation completed by social worker. (SOC 161 – available online)
Licensed/Approved Placement • Traditional placement options still available • New licensing rules/approval standards • Shared Living Agreement • 2 NEW Placement Options for NMDs: • THP-Plus Foster Care • Supervised Independent Living (SILP)
Extended Foster Care Benefits – What Do They Get? • The same benefit rates apply - NMDs eligible for the same rate they received in that setting as a minor • New statewide rates established for THP-Plus FC • SILP is limited to basic AFDC-FC rate • Wraparound services available for NMDs
What about youth who want to opt-out? • Eligibility for assistance does not end until the youth turns 20 (or 21), but aid is suspended when the NMD no longer resides in an eligible facility or after the court terminates dependency jurisdiction – may be resumed at request of NMD • Hearing (WIC 391) must be held prior to terminating jurisdiction (and assistance) and court must inform youth of: • Right to remain in care • Benefits of remaining in care • Right to reenter care if under the age limits • General jurisdiction for reentry taken if the court terminates dependency/delinquency jurisdiction
Re-entry Youth can re-enter unlimited times prior to turning 20/ 21 yrs old. Youth must be informed of right to reentry at termination hearing Re-entry process is intended to be as accessible and easy as possible Beginning date of aid is date NMD signs re-entry agreement
Benefits for Pregnant & Parenting Youth • Pregnant and parenting youth are eligible • Benefit Payment • In a SILP, the parenting NMD can receive the foster care payment directly, which includes the Infant Supplement. • For parenting NMD’s in licensed/approved facilities, the Infant Supplement is paid to the provider. • Whole Family Foster Homes, as FFH’s, relatives. FFA’s or THP+FC host family homes, are also eligible for the $200 Shared Responsibility Plan payment.
Process to Establish and Maintain Eligibility for Extended Foster Care Benefits
Role of Social Worker/Probation Officer Regarding Eligibility Affirmative obligation to ensure that NMDs who want to participate maintain eligibility In order to terminate dependency, must establish in juvenile court that the social worker/probation officer made reasonable efforts to ensure participation Services in TILP to ensure meaningful participation in eligibility requirements, including a back-up plan All case planning should be collaborative with young adult Goals are increasing levels of responsibility
Mutual Agreement • Not a condition of payment – but must be signed within 6 months of NMD turning 18 • Mutual Agreement documents youth’s willingness to: • Remain in a “supervised placement,” • Report changes relevant to eligibility and placement, and • Work with the Agency on the implementation of the TILP participation activities • Participate in 6 month review hearings • Mutual Agreement documents agency’s responsibility to: • Help NMD develop and achieve goals • Review and update TILP every 6 months • Help NMD remain eligible for extended foster care by responding to problems the NMD has identified and connecting NMD to supports and services • Help NMD and caregiver develop Shared Living Agreement • Ensure NMD has Medi-Cal card or other health insurance • Provide NMD with contact information for his/her attorney
Role of Eligibility Worker • A copy of the Certification Form shall be filed in the EW’s maintenance case • CDSS strongly recommends that a copy of the participation documentation be kept in the EW’s file for audit purposes • Perform normal duties for changes of placement calculate OP/UP’s, rate adjustments, annual redeterminations
CalWORKs: Basic Eligibility for Youth in Foster Care • Relatives caring for a youth who is in foster care that does not qualify for Title IV-E foster care benefits • This includes relatives who have a non-minor dependents placed in their home • NOTE: The non-minor dependent could live with the relative in a SILP and receive state-only AFDC-FC or if over 16 the relative can become the guardian and get the higher per child Kin GAP extended benefits.
CalWORKs: What Do they Get? Payment Decreases Per Child!
Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment Program (Kin-GAP) • Kin-GAP is California’s Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment program – it has been available since January 1, 2000 • Goal to enhance family preservation and stability to allow youth to exit foster care to guardianship with a relative caregiver without loss of funding • Program was expanded in 2006 to include: • Probation youth • Allow youth to receive Specialized Care Increment and clothing allowance as part of Kin-GAP benefit • Conversion of the old Kin-GAP program began January 1, 2011 due to AB 12
Kin-GAP: Basic Eligibility Child: • Has been adjudged a dependent or ward pursuant to WIC § 300 or 602 or after 6 months of voluntary placement, court ordered guardianship per 360 • Child must be citizen, legal permanent resident, or other qualified immigrant • Living with same approved relative at least 6 continuous months • Relative appointed as guardian by juvenile court • Relative guardian and child welfare agency (or probation or tribe) enter into a written, signed negotiated agreement setting forth the amount of the Kin-GAP payment and any other services • Dependency/delinquencycase dismissed by the court after January 1, 2000 AND • Have dependency/delinquency case dismissed after (or at the same time as) the court appoints the relative as guardian
What must the county do before the Kin-GAP guardianship is finalized? • County Agency Must Document in Guardianship Study • Being returned home or placed for adoption are not appropriate permanency options for the child (the court must make this finding) • The child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective relative guardian • The relative guardian has a strong commitment to caring permanently for the child • The child who has attained 12 years of age has been consulted regarding the kinship guardianship arrangement.
Kin-GAP – What do they get? • Negotiation between the relative guardian and the county child welfare agency, probation department or Indian tribe • Cannot exceed what the child would have received in a foster family home, including any applicable specialized care increment • The maximum Kin-GAP payment varies depending on the date the Kin-GAP guardianship was established • Set forth in an written agreement that can be adjusted periodically, as the needs of the child change • If the youth is a parent of a child placed in the same home, the infant supplement or “whole family foster home” rates apply • If the youth is a regional center consumer, the dual agency rates apply
Kin-GAP – When does it end? • Age Limits • Age 18 if entered Kin-GAP prior to turning 16 and no physical mental disability or up to age 19 if completing high school • Age 21 – regardless of when the child entered Kin-GAP IF the child has mental or physical handicaps that warrant continuation • Age 19 (beginning Jan. 1 2012) - or - Age 20 (beginning Jan. 1 2013) – for ALL youth who entered Kin-GAP at age 16 or older and meets one of the five participation conditions • NOTE: Youth converted into the federal Kin-GAP program at age 16 or older qualify until age 20 (or 21) even if they initially entered Kin-GAP before age 16 • Other factors • Continues if the family moves to another state
Other Benefits for Relatives/Youth Participating in Kin-GAP • County Clothing Allowance • Medi-Cal • And Medicaid continues if the guardian/youth move out of state IF the youth is federally-eligible • ILP services (regardless of what age the youth was when he/she entered Kin-GAP) • Education and training vouchers (if the youth entered Kin-GAP after age 16) • Reimbursement of non-recurring costs associated with guardianship – up to $2,000
Kin-GAP Conversion All prior Kin-GAP cases are being converted to the new program(s) Conversion happens at annual redetermination (can request earlier conversion) Conversion is intended to be seamless County to assess special needs of youth to determine if SCI is appropriate (even if it wasn’t part of the Kin-GAP benefit previously) County is to meet with relative in person or over the phone to negotiate new Kin-GAP benefit – right to administrative hearing if relative does not agree with the outcome of this negotiation Converted into either the new federal program or the new state program – depending on if the youth was federally-eligible while in foster care May affect whether youth can receive benefits past age 18 May affect eligibility for Medicaid if you move out of state
AAP: Basic Eligibility • “Special needs” AND • Written and signed AAP agreement with state stipulating amount of AAP entered into before the adoption is finalized (no means test)
AAP: Basic Eligibility (con’t) • AND one of the following: • Subject of an independent OR agency adoption and meets SSI requirements – OR - • Subject of an agency adoption and under supervision of county welfare department – OR - • Subject of an agency adoption and would have been at risk of dependency – OR - • Subject of an agency adoption and committed to care of dep’t pursuant to Family Code § 8805 or § 8918
AAP: What Do They Get? • Medicaid • Monthly Benefit • Amount of Adoption Assistance negotiated in a written adoption assistance agreement (no means test) • Cannot exceed the amount that the child would have received if in a licensed or approved family home (includes specialized care rate, ARM rate, dual agency rate) • The maximum AAP payment varies depending on the date of the initial adoption assistance agreement. • Can include specialized care increment • Residential care or Wrap Around services
AAP: When Does it End? • Eligibility by Age • Age 18 if entered AAP prior to turning 16 and no physical mental disability • Age 21 – regardless of when the child entered AAP IF the child has mental or physical handicaps that warrant continuation • Age 19 (beginning Jan. 1 2012) or Age 20 (beginning Jan. 1 2013) – if entered AAP at age 16 or older and meets one of the five participation conditions • Other Considerations • Continues if the family moves to another state • Can continue if child is adopted after death of adoptive parents
SSI/SSP: Basic Eligibility • Little or no income (no deeming for children that do not live in the household of a parent) • Few or no resources • Citizen or qualified non-citizen • Disabled
SSI/SSP: Basic Eligibility • Disability – child standard: • Marked or severe functional limitation expected to result in death or last for at least 12 continuous months • Disability – adult standard: • Inability to engage in substantial gainful employment and expected to last at least 12 months or result in death
SSI/SSP: What Do They Get? • Disabled child - $750 • Disabled adult (residing in own household) – $858 • If in foster care OR residing with a non-parent relative caregiver (even if not in foster care) OR residing with a guardian (relative or nonrelative) • Non-medical out-of-home care facility: $1086 • Must complete the SSP 22 to get the full benefit! • There are offset rules for concurrent receipt of SSI and other assistance (AFDC-FC, AAP, Kin-GAP)
SSI/SSP: When Does it End? • No definite end date – depends on the disability, income and resources • Different disability standard for adult • SSA conducts a Continuing Disability Review (“CDR”) in the month before the month the youth turns 18 to determine if the youth will remain eligible for SSI benefits under the adult rules • Continue to receive SSI until CDR is complete
SSI/SSP: County Mandate to Screen/Apply for SSI for Youth in Care Counties must: • Screen every youth in foster care for SSI eligibility between ages 16.5 and 17. • Assist youth determined likely eligible with SSI application. • When necessary, use workaround to forego federal foster care benefits for one month out of every 12 months
SSI: New Requirements for Non-Minor Dependents • Timeline for application remains the same – goal remains having SSI eligibility established at around the time the youth turns 18 • Ensuring SSI is in place provides youth maximum flexibility and choice among benefits, services and supports • If youth is approved for SSI but receives federal foster care in excess of SSI – same workaround that is used to allow youth to apply for SSI will be used to maintain eligibility
How can SSI help a youth transitioning out of foster care? • Monthly cash assistance often more than other available cash assistance programs (ie CalWORKs, General Assistance) – can help avoid homelessness • SSI eligibility may qualify youth for permanent affordable housing • Youth can work part-time and still receive SSI • Social Security has programs to help recipients pursue education or attempt work without losing eligibility • Youth can receive school scholarships and receive SSI simultaneously