Monthly Archives: March 2014

Earned Income Tax Credit for Foster Parents

Q: As a foster parent, can I claim the Earned Income Tax Credit? Are foster children “qualifying children?”

A: In short, yes: a foster child is a qualifying child for the purposes of the Earned Income Tax Credit. However the foster child must be “placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgment, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction.” The IRS specifies that an authorized placement agency includes a state or local government agency, a tax-exempt organization licensed by the state, an Indian tribal government or an organization authorized in an Indian tribal government.

In addition to meeting this relationship test, a “qualifying child” must also meet age, residency, and joint return tests requirements.

  •  Age: Child must be under age 19 at the end of 2013 or under age 24 at the end of 2013 and a student or permanently and totally disabled at any time during the year regardless of age.
  • Residency: Child must have lived with you in the United States for more than half of 2013.
  • Joint return: Child must not fil­e a joint return for 2013.

To claim the Earned Income Tax Credit with a qualifying child, you must file the Form 1040 or the Form 1040A, NOT the 1040EZ. You must also complete the Schedule EIC. If your income was less than $58,000 in 2013 you can file your taxes electronically free of charge at http://www.myfreetaxes.com

Source: Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Publication 596

Priority Registration Eligibility

Q: I am working with a high school senior in foster care who plans to attend community college in the fall. I understand that she can register before other students to ensure she gets the classes she needs. What does she need to do to access this benefit?

A: In order to access priority registration, eligible community college students must now complete the matriculation process which includes assessment tests, orientation and completing an educational plan. Priority enrollment periods for the fall at most community college campuses take place during the spring and so she needs to begin this process ASAP. She can start by completing an application at www.cccapply.org and then make an appointment with the admissions department at the college to get support for enrollment and with the counseling department to get support for assessment testing. Click here to find contacts at each college with a targeted program for foster youth, or you can contact the campus Foster Youth Success Initiative liaison for additional help.

Extended foster care for non-federally eligible youth living with approved relative

Q: I am a probation officer for a youth who is 17 years-old and placed with an approved relative. The youth is not federally-eligible and so the relative receives a CalWORKs payment instead of a foster care payment. Here is my question: when the youth turns 18, is he eligible to continue receiving assistance to age 21, even though he is not federally-eligible?

A: Yes; Provided that the youth meets all other eligibility requirements, he would qualify for an extended CalWORKs payment until age 21. The fact that the youth is not federally-eligible does not disqualify him from assistance. 

As explained in All County Letter 11-79, “NMDs are not subject to CalWORKs program rules, including Welfare-to-Work (WTW), or reporting requirements. The NMD is only required to meet at least one of the five conditions of eligibility established under AB 12, agree and adhere to the Mutual Agreement, and to cooperate with the six-month review hearings/certification.”

 

Source: Welf. & Inst. Code § 11253.3; All County Letter 11‐78

Food Stamp Eligibility for NMD Attending College

Q: I am 19 years-old, participating in AB 12 and attending college full-time. As a full-time student, am I eligible for food stamps?

A: You may be eligible for food stamps, depending on whether or not you are exempt from the “student bar,” which makes certain students ineligible for food stamps, known as CalFresh in California.  Those students who are ineligible to receive CalFresh include those who are:

  • age 18 to 50 and physically fit,
  • enrolled at least half-time  and
  • enrolled in an institution of higher education.

It is important to note that certain students are exempt from the “student bar.”  These include students who are employed 20 hours a week, certain students with children, students who are enrolled in a food stamp employment and training program and students who do not intend to register for the next school term.

For more information, read the CDSS regulations or visit the California Good Guide to Food Benefits website, which summarizes special rules for students.