Monthly Archives: January 2012

Filling out the FAFSA: youth in Non-Related Legal Guardianships (NRLG)

Question: When filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), will a young adult living with a non-related legal guardian who is receiving extended benefits be able to claim independent status or will s/he be dependent due to the fact that the Non-Related Legal Guardian (NRLG) is getting benefits and supporting the youth at college?

Answer: A NRLG youth who is receiving extended benefits under AB 12 will continue to claim independent status.  Question #54 on the 2012/2013 FAFSA asks whether a youth was or is in legal guardianship.  The FAFSA instructions explain that applicants should answer “yes” if they can provide a copy of a court’s decision that as of today they are in legal guardianship or if they can provide a copy of a court’s decision that they were in legal guardianship immediately before reaching the age of being an adult in their state (18 in California).  A youth receiving extended benefits as a NRLG would continue to meet this definition.  A “yes” response to this question qualifies the applicant for independent status for purposes of financial aid.

Delinquency vs. dependency and eligibility for extended foster care

Question: Does the delinquency youth have the same re-entry rights/process as the dependency youth?

Answer: Youth in the delinquency system are eligible for extended foster care if they are under an order for foster care placement on their 18th birthday.  Further, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act provides mechanisms for certain wards to enter transition jurisdiction prior to their 18th birthday, which would provide those youth with eligibility for extended foster care benefits in the same manner as youth under dependency jurisdiction upon turning 18.  Youth who are either (1) under the court’s transition jurisdiction or (2) under the court’s delinquency jurisdiction AND under an order for foster care placement on their 18th birthday have all the rights as youth in the dependency system to participate in extended foster care, including the right to re-enter care. (Welf. & Inst. Code § 388(e)).

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Non-Related Legal Guardianship (NRLG) benefits and residing outside of guardian’s home

Question: My question is about non-related legal guardianship (NRLG) case (non-probate). If the youth is in college and still receiving support from the guardian but does not live in the home of the guardian full-time (i.e. lives in a dorm or something), is the guardian still able to receive extended benefits?

Answer: Yes. As long as the guardian is providing support to the youth, they can receive the AFDC-FC benefits even if the youth is at college.  The funding has to be paid to the NRLG.  It cannot be paid directly to the youth, as it would if the youth were living in a SILP.  (See ACL 11-69, p. 15)

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