SSI recipients in THP-Plus

Q: I understand that youth who meet the eligibility requirements for both extended foster care and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be eligible to receive both at the same time, but that there are offsetting rules. However, what about for former foster youth participating in THP-Plus? Are there offsetting rules, or can those youth receive their full SSI payment regardless of THP-Plus participation?

A: No, there are no off-setting rules for youth receiving SSI in THP-Plus. Because youth participating in THP-Plus are not current foster youth, there are no foster care benefits. Youth in THP-Plus who are SSI recipients can receive their full SSI payment, regardless of their being in a THP-Plus program.

As you mentioned, this is different for non-minor dependents: youth who meet the eligibility requirements for both extended foster care and SSI may be eligible to receive both at the same time, but for federally-eligible youth, the SSI payments are offset dollar-for-dollar by the amount of federal foster care benefits, and for non-federally-eligible foster youth, the state foster care payment is offset dollar-by-dollar by the amount of SSI benefits.

Citation:

  • Administration for Children and Families, Child Welfare Policy Manual, Section 8.4D, Question 1
  • Welfare & Institutions Code § 13754 et seq.; All County Letter 11-69
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Tiny House as SILP?

Q: We have a non-minor dependent (NMD) who would like to purchase a “Tiny House”. This NMD has saved up the down payment and the former foster parents have agreed to let this youth park it on their property. The Tiny House is mobile so the NMD could move the house as their situation changes. Can this NMD reside in the Tiny House as a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP)?

A: Yes, the Tiny House could be the NMD’s SILP, as long as the social worker or probation officer approves it. Approving a SILP is a two-part process that consists of:

  • a SILP Readiness Assessment to indicate whether or not the NMD has knowledge of financial skills and is developmentally ready to handle daily tasks on their own, and a financial plan to meet his/her living expenses while living in the SILP.
  • an inspection checklist (SOC 157B) to determine that the living unit meets basic health and safety standards. This is done during a walkthrough of the site with the NMD.

Citation: All County Letter 11-77 (2011) http://www.cdss.ca.gov/lettersnotices/entres/getinfo/acl/2011/11-77.pdf

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Eligibility for 12 Month Extension of THP-Plus

Q: My county is one of the 21 counties that have opted into the THP-Plus 12-month extension for youth enrolled in school. I am working with a youth who entered the program at age 23. How will the extension work for her? Does she get the full 24 months of eligibility and then an extra 12 months, provided she is enrolled in school?

A: No, in this example the youth would not get the full 24 months of eligibility and then an extra 12 months because she entered at age 23.

The upper age limit of THP-Plus is 24. AB 1252 allows a youth who is enrolled in school to receive an extra year of eligibility, up to age 25.

In this specific case, the youth would be eligible for THP-Plus until age 24 and then receive an additional 12 months of eligibility provided she remained enrolled in school. Once she turns age 25, she would no longer be eligible for the program.

For more information, including a list of the 21 counties that have extended THP-Plus for youth who are enrolled in school, follow this LINK.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Q: I have heard that in order to maintain certain forms of financial aid, a student has to maintain “Satisfactory Academic Progress.” What does this mean exactly?

A: Each school has a satisfactory academic progress policy for financial aid purposes and there can be variation across institutions. Typically, there are three components: minimum GPA, the percentage of cumulative units attempted that must be successfully completed, and the requirement that students complete their educational program within a maximum time frame of 150% of the published program’s requirements.

GPA requirements are often set at a minimum of 2.0 but you should check your school’s policy to confirm. The percentage of units that must be successfully completed also varies and generally ranges between 65-80%. Each institution’s policy can typically be found on their website.

The final requirement depends on the type of program a student is enrolled in. For example, if the student is in an Associate Degree program that requires 60 units, the maximum number of units that could be taken before losing financial aid eligibility would be 150% of that or 90 units.

In some cases, a student may be able to appeal for a temporary waiver of the satisfactory academic progress rules. These circumstances include when the failure to make satisfactory academic progress was due to injury or illness of the student, death of a relative of the student or other special circumstances. Students in this circumstance should consult with the financial aid office or foster youth program.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status & sponsorship

Q: I am a social worker helping a young person apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Once she receives it and later becomes a U.S. citizen, she would like to sponsor her sister to immigrate to the U.S. Is that allowable under SIJS?

A: Yes, once she becomes a U.S. citizen (which generally she can apply for after 5 years with her green card), she will be able to sponsor her sister. SIJS does not allow her to ever sponsor her biological or prior adoptive parents.

Citation: 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J)(iii)(II).

For more information about immigration and child welfare, listen to a June 23, 2017 training conducted by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in partnership with John Burton Advocates for Youth.

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Married youth eligibility for Extended Foster Care

Q: It was my understanding that youth who are married are not eligible for Extended Foster Care, however I was informed that guidance was issued stating that marriage was not a factor of ineligibility. Can you clarify this for me?

A: You are probably referring to federal guidance issued stating that there is nothing in Title IV-E that prohibits a Title IV-E agency from providing Title IV-E Foster Care to an otherwise eligible youth if the youth is married. However, California has established a policy that youth who are married are not eligible for Extended Foster Care, as specified in All County Letter 11-69.

Citation:

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Child Welfare Policy Manual, 8.3A Title IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Question 4. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cwpm/programs/cb/laws_policies/laws/cwpm/policy_dsp.jsp?citID=39 

California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 11-69 (2011). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/lettersnotices/entres/getinfo/acl/2011/11-69.pdf

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Career and Technical Education (CTE) Resources

Q: Is there any way to easily learn more about Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at the community colleges and find out what types of credentials are available at my local colleges?

 

A: There are a number of new online tools now available to help students research and understand CTE options at the community colleges. My Path walks users through the steps involved with community college matriculation and includes information on career options, choosing a college, applying for college and financial aid. The Career Coach offers links to career assessment tests, data on wages, employment and training for jobs in a range of sectors, and a searchable database of programs in different fields. The Salary Surfer uses the aggregated earnings of graduates from a five-year period to provide an estimate on the potential wages to be earned two years and five years after receiving a certificate or degree in certain disciplines. This tool also provides information on which colleges offer programs in each specific discipline.

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Placement with relative that is not a legal resident

Q: With all that I am reading about immigration federally, I am worried about this ability of children to be placed with relatives. What happens for children who need to be placed with a relative who is not a legal resident? Is this allowed?

A: Yes. When a court orders removal of a child, the child may be placed with a non-custodial parent or relative regardless of the immigration status of the parent or relative.

Citation: California Welfare & Institutions Code Section 361.2(e)

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Documentation of unearned income for youth in THP+FC applying for CalFresh

Q: I’m a non-minor dependent, and I recently went to apply for food stamps. As instructed by my case manager for the THP+FC program I live in, I put down $500 for my unearned monthly income because that is what the program provides to me monthly.

However, the eligibility worker was under the impression that the entire foster care payment the THP+FC provider receives from the county ($3,007) should be put down as my unearned income. What should I do?

A: You are correct. Your unearned income is the $500 you receive directly from the THP+FC program. The best thing to do is to bring a printed copy of the CalFresh Program Request for Policy/Regulation Interpretation (CF24) posted by the California Department of Social Services’ CalFresh Policy Unit on June 28, 2016, that describes how to count unearned income for youth participating in THP+FC.

As described in the CF24 and in a previous Q of the W blog post, “The actual amount of THP monies made available to the youth whether spent, held or put into personal savings shall be considered unearned income in the month received for the CalFresh budget whether disbursed as part of THP+FC or THP-Plus programs.”

Additionally, I would suggest bringing a letter on letterhead from your THP+FC program stating how much your monthly stipend, is as you will likely be asked for verification of the amount.

Citation: CalFresh Program Request for Policy/Regulation Interpretation (June 28, 2016)

 

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BOG Fee Waiver Disqualification from failure to maintain SAP

Q: I’m working with a foster youth in community college who is receiving the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver. His Grade Point Average has been below a 2.0 for two consecutive semesters now. I understand that the BOG Fee Waiver now has Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements. Will this youth lose his fee waiver?

A: No, if he is a foster youth, he will not lose his BOG Fee Waiver for failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). While there is a requirement that BOG Fee Waiver recipients must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA and greater than a 50% Completion Rate, current and former foster youth under age 25 are exempt from BOG Fee Waiver Disqualification.

Citation: Senate Bill 1456 (2012); Board of Governors Fee Waiver Program and Special Programs Manual (2015)

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