Monthly Archives: November 2017

CalFresh “households” & shared living

Q: I’m working with a non-minor dependent who lives in a Supervised Independent Living Placement with two roommates. She would like to apply for CalFresh, however one of her roommates already receives CalFresh benefits. I understand you apply for CalFresh as a household, so how does this work? Can she apply by herself?

A: You are correct that CalFresh benefits are awarded to eligible “households,” however it is possible to have a household of one. Rule of thumb is, in shared living arrangements where meals are purchased and prepared together, the head of household would apply for CalFresh benefits on behalf of the household. In shared living arrangements where meals are purchased and prepared separately, each individual may apply for CalFresh benefits as a separate household.

So, if this NMD purchases and prepares her meals separately from her two roommates, then she could submit a CalFresh application as a household of one.

To learn more about current and former foster youth applying for CalFresh, join a webinar today at 11:00.

Citation: California Department of Social Services. All County Information Notice I-68-17 (October 2, 2017).

Tagged , ,

Applying for multiple financial aid sources

Q: I have seen that there are a lot of different kinds of financial aid – Pell Grant, Cal Grant, BOG fee waiver, Chafee grant, work study, loans – and I’m confused by all these different sources. Are these all covered by a single application or do I have to fill out multiple applications?

A: Most forms of financial aid, including the federal Pell Grant, Cal Grant, BOG fee waiver, work study, and loans are applied for through a single form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once the FAFSA is submitted, the financial aid office at your school will determine which specific forms of aid you are eligible for. If a student is undocumented, they would submit the California Dream Act Application instead to qualify for state aid.

One additional form that you will want to make sure to also submit is the separate Chafee grant application. This must be submitted in addition to the FAFSA in order to apply for the Chafee grant program which is a financial aid source just for foster youth. Finally, after you have submitted a FAFSA, you should confirm that your high school submitted your GPA to the Webgrants system, which is required to obtain a Cal Grant. You can read about how to do this and much more in the Financial Aid Guide for California Foster Youth.

Note that private scholarships typically do need to be applied for individually, with separate applications for each. To learn more about ways to search for scholarships, follow this LINK.

Use of infant supplement for youth in THP+FC

Q: The THP+FC program I work for provides parenting youth with a crib (as required by regulations), diapers and other items for their child, and a larger apartment unit to accommodate their family’s needs. I understand that there are new guidelines governing use of the infant supplement. Is my program able to utilize a portion of the infant supplement to cover the increased costs associated with serving parenting youth?

A: Yes, the provider may retain a portion of the infant supplement for the specified needs of the non-minor dependent (NMD)’s child, such as clothing; laundry; diapers; food; medical costs; household items; costs for providing childcare; or housing related costs, such as increased rent for a larger housing unit.

In order to retain a portion of the infant supplement, the NMD and provider must enter into a shared agreement discussed in the context of a Child and Family Team meeting, or other collaborative team meeting. The California Department of Social Services provides a suggested template for the shared agreement as an attachment to All County Letter 17-93.

It is important to note that because the funds are not authorized to be used for administrative costs under federal law, providers may not retain a portion of the infant supplement to cover the cost of staffing, case management and services.

Citation: All County Letter 17-93 (September 8, 2017)

Tagged ,

Re-enrolling in college after accruing student debt

Q: We are working with a youth who would like to reenroll in community college, but has incurred student debt from when he enrolled and received the Pell Grant, and then dropped out and did not pay the financial aid back. He reports that the debt has gone into collections. Will he be able to reapply for financial aid? Any advice on how to deal with the debt so he can reenroll in school?

A: If the debt he incurred was from federal financial aid such as the Pell Grant and it has gone to collections, then he will have to at least begin to make payments before being able to apply for any other federal financial aid (regardless of the school he enrolls in).

The student should call the phone number on his Student Aid Report and ask how many payments he must make before the hold can be lifted. The collections office his debt has been referred to will inform the Department of Education (DOE) if the student is making payments. The DOE can issue a letter to the student or school, and at that point the school can override the hold for the student to receive the Pell Grant again.

It is also good to know that if the student calls the collections office and indicates he would like to pay his debt in full, they will usually discount the payment amount for the student if the student asks.

For future reference, if the student was able to catch address the debt before it went to collections, he may have been able to make “satisfactory arrangements” with the school, where the school repays the debt and makes arrangements with the student for repayment. Many schools are willing to use future aid to pay off debt.

Tagged , ,