Category Archives: Eligibility

Question of the Week-Cal Grant Time Limits

Q: I was awarded a Cal Grant to attend community college, but my counselor is telling me I shouldn’t take the money because it could run out later. Could you explain why I wouldn’t want to accept this money?

A: Currently, the Cal Grant is available only for a maximum of four years of full-time enrollment at a community college, CSU, UC or private institution. At a community college, the grant provides up to $1,672 to cover non-tuition costs, such as books, housing and transportation. At a 4-year university, the money can also be used to pay for tuition costs and therefore provides significantly more: up to $7,414 for a student attending a CSU campus, $14,302 for students attending a UC campus and $10,756 for students enrolled at a qualifying private institution. If you utilize the funding while in community college, you run the risk of not having enough funds remaining when you transfer to a university and when the available benefit is significantly more.

It should also be noted, that this limitation would change if Senate Bill 940 passes. For foster youth specifically, the maximum time would be extended from four to eight years, allowing students to utilize the grant throughout their educational career. To support the passage of this bill, please consider sending in a letter of support as well as sign on to the budget request letter to expand Cal Grant access for foster youth. Support letters can be sent to Carolyn@jbay.org

Tagged , , ,

Question of the Week-Independent Status on FAFSA

Q: How do I know if I qualify for independent status on the FAFSA, and what exactly does it mean to be an independent student?

A: Independent Status” on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) means that youth do not have to provide any information, including income and asset information, about their biological, adoptive, or foster parents (including relative or non-relative caregivers) or legal guardians in the Parent Demographics section. This will mean that parental contribution is not added into a student’s contribution to determine his or her Estimated Financial Contribution (EFC), the index number that determines how much a student can pay for education and how much financial aid students receive.

If any of the below applies to students, then they qualify as independent students on the FAFSA:

  • Was an orphan, foster child, or ward/dependent of the court at any time since the age of 13
  • Age 24 or older at any time before December 31st of the award year
  • Was determined at any time since July 1st of award year to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless
  • Is married as of the date student applies
  • Will be a graduate or professional student when the award year starts
  • Is currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training
  • Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Has dependents other than a spouse

Citation: U.S Department of Education, Office of Federal Student Aid, 2018-2019 Application and Verification Guide https://ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/attachments/1819FSAHbkAVG.pdf

Tagged , , ,

Selecting a Housing Plan on FAFSA

Q: I am completing the FAFSA and on the page where I indicate which schools I want my information sent to, it asks me to indicate if I will be living on-campus, off-campus or with parents. I am currently in foster care and have lived with my aunt since I entered the system, and I plan to continue living with her while I go to community college. Which option do I select?

A: You would select “off-campus.” Students should not select “With Parent” as their housing plan if they plan to live with a foster parent, relative caregiver, or legal guardian. Instead, select “Off-Campus.” This is crucial for getting all the money that is available to you to pay for your living expenses. The option you select has an impact on how much money you receive as the “cost of attendance” is considered more when living off-campus than when living with a parent. For more tips on how to complete the FAFSA, check out the Financial Aid Guide for California Foster Youth.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Youth in guardianship with open dependency case: what happens at 18?

Q: I’m working with a 17-year-old youth who is in a guardianship, but there is still an open dependency case. What happens when she turns 18? Can she opt to move into a placement like a SILP or THP+FC for non-minor dependents? Or must she remain in the home of her guardian?

A: Because there is still an open dependency case, this youth is technically in foster care, meaning when she turns 18 she can access the placement types that other non-minor dependents (NMDs) can access, assuming she meets the eligibility criteria for extended foster care.

For youth in guardianships with open dependency cases, the guardianship terminates by operation of law at age 18. The home of the guardian can still be a foster care placement for the NMD if the guardian is willing and the NMD chooses to remain in the home, however the NMD can also choose to reside in a different placement.

Tagged , , ,

Married youth eligibility for Extended Foster Care

Q: It was my understanding that youth who are married are not eligible for Extended Foster Care, however I was informed that guidance was issued stating that marriage was not a factor of ineligibility. Can you clarify this for me?

A: You are probably referring to federal guidance issued stating that there is nothing in Title IV-E that prohibits a Title IV-E agency from providing Title IV-E Foster Care to an otherwise eligible youth if the youth is married. However, California has established a policy that youth who are married are not eligible for Extended Foster Care, as specified in All County Letter 11-69.

Citation:

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Child Welfare Policy Manual, 8.3A Title IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Eligibility, Question 4. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cwpm/programs/cb/laws_policies/laws/cwpm/policy_dsp.jsp?citID=39 

California Department of Social Services. All County Letter 11-69 (2011). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/lettersnotices/entres/getinfo/acl/2011/11-69.pdf

Tagged

Has CCR changed AB 12 eligibility?

Q: I am a CASA with a youth who is facing some decisions regarding her permanency plan. I understand there have been recent changes related to Continuum of Care Reform, impacting foster care placement. My question is, has CCR changed AB 12 eligibility at all — particularly in regards to the age of establishing guardianship and eligibility for extended Kin-GAP payments?

A: No. AB 12 eligibility has not changed as a result of Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). AB 12 eligibility, including eligibility for Extended Foster Care, extended Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP) payments, and extended Adoptions Assistance Program (AAP) payments remains as follows:

Extended Foster Care:

There are four basic eligibility requirements for a youth to continue to receive support after the age of 18. The youth must:

  • have an order for foster care placement on his/her 18th birthday;[i]
  • continue under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court as a dependent, under transitional jurisdiction, or as a ward;[ii]
  • meet one of the five participation conditions*;[iii] and
  • agree to live in a supervised placement that is licensed or approved.[iv]

The youth must also sign a mutual agreement (although not a condition of payment)[v], meet with his/her social worker or probation officer monthly[vi], and participate in six-month court review hearings.[vii]

Extended Kin-GAP:

  • Youth, regardless of age of entry into Kin-GAP, may continue to receive Kin-GAP up until age 21 if he or she has a physical or mental disability that warrants continuing assistance beyond age 18 and up until 21.[viii]
  • Youth who began to receive the negotiated Kin-GAP payment after they turn 16 are eligible for extended Kin-GAP benefits to age 21, as long as the youth meets one of the participation conditions* and signs a mutual agreement.[ix]
  • Youth who began to receive the negotiated Kin-GAP payment before they turn 16 are eligible for extended Kin-GAP beyond age 18 if they have not yet graduated high school, but are expected to complete high school or an equivalent program before they turn 19. In this case, they can continue to receive Kin-GAP until they graduate or turn 19, whichever happens first.[x] There is one exception to this rule: Youth in a guardianship with a non-related extended family member (see next bullet).
  • Regardless of the age of entry into Kin-GAP, youth in a guardianship with a non-related extended family member (NREFM) are eligible for extended AFDC-FC benefits as a non-related guardian when they turn 18 and up until age 21, as long as the youth meets one of the participation conditions* and signs a mutual agreement.[xi]

Extended AAP:

  • A youth, regardless of age of entry into the Adoptions Assistance Program (AAP), may continue to receive AAP up until age 21 if he or she has a physical or mental disability that warrants continuing assistance beyond age 18 and up until 21.
  • Youth who do not have a physical or mental disability and who began to receive the negotiated AAP payment before turning 16 will receive AAP until age 18.
  • Youth who began to receive the negotiated AAP payment after turning 16 may be eligible for extended AAP benefits beyond age 18, and up until 21, as long as the youth meets one of the participations conditions*. There is no mutual agreement requirement for youth to receive AAP after age 18. [xii]

*The “five participation conditions” referenced above are as follows:

1) The nonminor is completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential.

2) The nonminor is enrolled in an institution which provides postsecondary or vocational education.

3) The nonminor is participating in a program or activity designed to promote, or remove barriers to employment.

4) The nonminor is employed for at least 80 hours per month.

5) The nonminor is incapable of doing any of the activities described above due to a medical condition.[xiii]

Citations:

[i] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11400(v)

[ii] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11400(v)

[iii] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11403(b)

[iv] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11402

[v] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 303(d), 11400(u); All County Letter 11‐61

[vi] 42 U.S.C. § 622(b)(17); ACYF-CB-PI-10-11 (p. 11)

[vii] Welf. & Inst. Code §366.3(m)

[viii] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 11363(c)(2), 11386(g)(2)

[ix] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 11363(d), 11386(h); All County Letter 11‐86; Senate Bill §1013

[x] Welf. & Inst. Code § 11363(c)(3), 11386(g)(3); All County Letter 11‐15; All County Letter 11‐86

[xi] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 11391(c), 11405(e)(2)

[xii] Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 16120(d); 16123

[xiii] Welf. & Inst. § 11403(b)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Financial aid eligibility for reunified youth

Q: I am working with a young woman who has turned 21 and was previously in foster care. She was reunified with her mother approximately 7 weeks before she turned 18. Does this preclude her from educational financial aid that is tied to her foster youth status? Can she access Chafee and the other types of financial aid?

A: No, reunifying at age 17 does not preclude this young woman from any financial aid that she may be eligible for as a foster youth. Yes, she is categorically eligible for the Chafee Education & Training Voucher, the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver, the Cal Grant, and the Pell Grant. Provided below is more information about foster care status and eligibility for these types of financial aid.

For the Chafee Grant, a youth must have been a dependent or ward of the court living in foster care on or after their 16th birthday. However, it is important to note in this case because she is 21 years old, that if she turns 22 before July 1st of the award year she would not be eligible for Chafee.

For the BOG Fee Waiver, the Cal Grant and the Pell Grant, eligibility is linked to the student’s “independent” status on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Being “independent” means the student does not need to report parental income (but if their own income exceeds the income standards, they will not get aid). In order to qualify for independent status, a youth needs to have been in care at least one day after their 13th birthday.

Citation: California Student Aid Commission (Chafee eligibility: https://www.chafee.csac.ca.gov/), U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (https://fafsa.ed.gov/)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Eligible placements for AB 2464 re-entries

Q: I’m working with an 18 year old in guardianship who is no longer being provided support by their guardian, and is without a place to live. She has asked if she can access a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP).

Is there a way for this youth to re-enter foster care and access a SILP, and will she be eligible to receive her foster care payment directly as her own payee?

A: If this youth’s guardian is no longer providing ongoing support to her and she successfully re-enters Extended Foster Care through the process established by Assembly Bill 2454 (more information about this process in a previous Q of the W), then she would be eligible for the placement options available to non-minor dependents, including the Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP).

To access a SILP, she would have to pass a SILP Readiness Assessment and her housing would have to pass a Health & Safety Inspection. Youth placed in SILPs are eligible to receive their foster care payment directly.

Citation: Assembly Bill 2454 (2014), All County Information Notice I-17-15 (October 20, 2015), All County Letter 11-69 (October 13, 2011), All County Letter 11-77 (November 18, 2011)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Can non-minors in guardianships be placed in a SILP or THP+FC?

Q: I work for Child Protective Services and would like to know whether youth in Non-Related Legal Guardianships (NRLG) are eligible for placement in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) or in a transitional housing placement (THP+FC).

Also, is there a certain age these youth had to have gone into the guardianship to be eligible for extended benefits?

A: Youth in guardianships, including Non-Related Legal Guardianship (NRLG) are not eligible for Extended Foster Care, and so they cannot be placed in foster care placements such as a SILP or THP+FC.

Some youth in guardianships are eligible for extended Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP) benefits:

  • Youth in NRLG established in dependency court are eligible for extended Kin-GAP to age 21, regardless of the age the guardianship was established.[1]
  • Youth in NRLG established by the probate court are only eligible for extended Kin-GAP as follows: If they are still in high school when they turn 18, they can remain receiving benefits until they graduate high school or turn 19, whichever comes first. “This is called the high school completion rule”.[2]
  • Youth in kin guardianships are eligible for extended Kin-GAP to age 21 if the guardianship was established after the youth turned 16[3] (with the exception of the condition stated in the next bulletin). If the guardianship was established prior to turning 16, they are only eligible for extended benefits under the terms of the high school completion rule stated in the previous bullet.[4]
  • Youth in kin guardianships who have a physical or mental disability, the Kin-GAP benefits can be extended to age 21 regardless of the age the guardianship was established.[5]

Citation:

[1] Welfare & Institutions Code § 11400(2)(aa)
[2] All County Letter 11‐69
[3] Welfare & Institutions Code §§ 11363(d), 11386(h); All County Letter 11‐86; Senate Bill 1013
[4] Welfare & Institutions Code § 11363(c)(3), 11386(g)(3); All County Letter 11‐15; All County Letter 11‐86
[5] Welfare & Institutions Code §§ 11363(c)(2), 11386(g)(2)

Tagged , , , , ,

THP-Plus – are married youth eligible?

Q: Are there any restrictions regarding married former foster youth applying for the THP-Plus program?

A: No, there is no restriction regarding married former foster youth participating in THP-Plus. If they are otherwise THP-Plus-eligible, youth who are married can participate in THP-Plus.

Youth are eligible for THP-Plus who were in foster care or out-of-home probation on or after their 18th birthday, and who are ages 18 up to age 24,[1] and up to age 25 in counties who have opted into the THP-Plus extension[2] established by SB 1252.

Citations:

[1] Welfare & Institutions Code Section 11403.2(a)(2)(A)

[2] Welfare & Institutions Code Section 11403.2(a)(2)(B)

Tagged ,