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.