Monthly Archives: February 2014

Deadline & Requirements for Cal Grant

Q: I am a CASA for youth in extended foster care who wants to go to college in the fall. I know the deadline for the Cal Grant is coming up pretty soon. What is the deadline, what does he have to submit and what happens if he misses it?

A: The deadline for the Cal Grant is less than a week away, March 2nd. To apply for a Cal Grant, a student must submit two things by this deadline (1) a 2014-2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and (2) a certified Grade Point Average (GPA) to the California Student Aid Commission. Students who have earned a GED and therefore don’t have a grade point should submit your test score along with the GPA Verification Form.

Both the FAFSA and the GPA certification may be submitted electronically or through the mail. For a PDF of the FAFSA, follow this LINK. For a PDF of the grade point certification, follow this LINK.  This year, March 2nd falls on a Sunday and the California Student Aid Commission has extended the deadline to Monday, March 3, 2014. All materials must be postmarked by that date.

It is extremely important for foster youth to submit these materials by the March 2nd deadline in California. Failure to complete them by the March 2nd deadline is one reason why less than 1 in 5 of foster youth who apply for financial aid receive a Cal Grant.

If the youth does not meet the March 2nd deadline, he will not be guaranteed to receive a Cal Grant, which covers fees up to $5,970 at CSUs, $12,192 at UCs and $9,223 toward tuition and fees at a private college. Up to $1,473 for books and living expenses is available for students attending community college. Instead, he will be placed in a competitive pool, where the odds of getting funding decrease to 1 in 13.

For more information, visit the California Student Aid Commission.

Reporting Parental Income on FAFSA

Q: I am a helping a foster youth who is participating in AB12 to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and it is asking her to provide income information for her parents. Does she have to do this since she’s a foster youth?

A: No. When she completes her FAFSA, she should make sure that she answers yes to Question #53 that asks “At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?” If she is completing the FAFSA electronically, when she responds “yes” to that question it will automatically remove any questions related to parental income. She will still need to provide information about her own income.

For more information about foster youth financial aid eligibility, listen to a recent web seminar, featuring knowledgeable  financial aid representatives who discuss how to ensure foster youth receive the financial aid to which they are entitled.

The deadline to submit the FAFSA is March 2nd!

Paperwork Required to Extend Medi-Cal to Age 26

Q: My former foster daughter is 22. I heard Medi-Cal has been extended to age 26 for former foster youth under the Affordable Care Act and I would like to enroll my former foster daughter. I know that I need to take her to the county office, but what do we need to bring with us? Do we need a letter from the county verifying foster youth status and do we need to verify income?

 

A: Going to your local county office to complete form MC 250A, is currently the best way to enroll your former foster daughter in Medi-Cal. Your former foster daughter will not need to bring anything verifying foster youth status. She should be enrolled in Medi-Cal immediately while the county verifies status. They will not need to verify income because eligibility is based upon being in foster care on her 18th birthday, being 18-26, and being a California resident.

 

Children Now recommends bringing a copy of Informational Letter 14-05 released by the California Department of Health Care Services, and also making note of the law that extended Medi-Cal (California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 14005.28) when visiting a county office to apply. To learn more, visit Children Now’s Covered Till 26 website at http://coveredtil26.childrennow.org/.

Source: California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 14005.28, Informational Letter 14-05, Children Now Covered Till 26 website <http://coveredtil26.childrennow.org&gt;

Treatment of SILP Payments for Tax Purposes

Q: I am a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for a young person living in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP). Like all youth in a SILP, she receives an $820 monthly foster care payment directly. With tax season approaching, she wants to know if this counts as income. Does she need to report these payments on her personal income taxes?

 

A: No; Federal law governing income recognizes that foster care payments are welfare payments for the support of youth in foster care. As such, they are not taxable income and do not need to be reported on the youth’s income tax return.

Source: IRS Publication 525 (2013), Taxable and Nontaxable Income; IRS CCA 200021036