Monthly Archives: May 2013

Eligibility for Continuing Kin-GAP Benefits and Infant Supplement Payment for a Relative Legal Guardian

Q: I am the relative legal guardian of a 17 year-old who is pregnant and has a disability. A few questions: Will I be eligible to continue to receive Kinship Guardianship Assistance (Kin-GAP) benefits on her behalf after she turns 18 years old? Also, will she be eligible for an “infant supplement” when the baby is born?

A: Yes, Kin-GAP benefits extends to age 21 if the youth has a “physical or mental disability that warrants the continuation of assistance” regardless of when the guardianship was established. For youth who are determined to have a physical or mental disability, receipt of extended Kin-GAP benefits is not conditional on the young person in your care meeting one of the five participation requirements due to her disability. There is no definition for what qualifies as a “mental or physical disability” – so contact your county child welfare agency to discuss your child’s needs and eligibility for Kin-GAP benefits until age 21.

In addition, relative guardians receiving Kin-GAP on behalf of a youth that is parenting are eligible for the $441 infant supplement, both before the youth turns age 18 and after the youth turns age 18.

Sources: Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 11363(c)(2), 11386(g)(2), All County Letter 11-86

Eligibility to Re-enter Foster Care for youth who are “AWOL”

Q: I am working with a homeless youth, age 19. At age 18, she ran away from her foster care placement. Is she eligible to re-enter foster care even though she was “AWOL” when she turned age 18?

A: Yes; Welfare and Institutions Code 388 (e) outlines the eligibility criteria for extended foster care and specifically states that a “nonminor who attained 18 years of age while subject to an order for foster care.” It does not specify that a youth must be resident in a foster care placement to be eligible. Youth who are “AWOL” are still subject to a court order of foster care, even if they are not physically residing in foster care.

However, if the young woman ran away from foster care and the court had closed her dependency case prior to age 18, she would not be eligible to re-enter foster care.

Extended Medi-Cal

Q: I understand that the Affordable Care Act will extend Medi-Cal for youth who were in foster care at age 18 to age 26. My question is: will that be EPSDT Medi-Cal (which funds the specialty foster care mental health services) or regular Medi-Cal?

A: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed by Congress in 2011, extended eligibility for Medi-Cal for individuals under age 26 who were in foster care at age 18 and receiving Medicaid, effective January 1, 2014. According to the ACA, youth will be eligible for this extension regardless of whether or not they were federally-eligible for foster care. Additionally, it specifies that there is no income or resource test for this group.

However, eligibility for services funded by EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment) continue to end at age 21. At age 21, youth would no longer be eligible for the specialty mental health services provided through EPSDT. They would, however, remain eligible for these services between age 18 and 21, regardless of whether or not they are in extended foster care, as long as they are otherwise eligible for Medicaid.

A question still under consideration by the federal Administration is whether or not youth must continue to reside in the state where they were in foster care to be eligible for Medi-Cal to age 26. This requirement was included in the draft regulation. In February 2013, a coalition of stakeholders requested that this restriction be removed.
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Proposed Rule: Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs, and Exchanges; Proposed Rules for Extending Medicaid to Age 26 for Eligible Former Foster Children (Fed. Reg. Vol. 78, No. 14, 1/22/13)

Re-entering Foster Care and THP+FC

Q: I am a THP-Plus provider who will be providing THP+FC effective July 1, 2013. I have a youth in our program who turned 18 in September 2011 and had a placement order for foster care in place on January 1, 2012, as required to participate in extended foster care.

The youth elected to opt-out of extended foster care in March 2012 and enter our THP-Plus program. I am now working with her to re-enter foster care to participate in THP+FC. She will turn 20 this September. Does she need to re-enter foster care by age 20? What happens if she doesn’t?

A: Yes, this youth does need to petition to re-enter before age 20; if she does not, she will have to wait until January 1, 2014, when the age limit extends to age 21.

In July 2012, the California State Legislature passed SB 1013, which was intended to prevent youth who had been receiving aid continuously from being discharged due to turning age 19 in 2012 and age 20 in 2013. However, it does not apply to those youth who elected to exit foster care voluntarily and want to re-enter.