Obtaining child support and services for relative caregivers

        Grandparents (or other family members) raising grandchildren face unique challenges as they become parents a second time around, and must often navigate a dizzying array of legal, financial, and social challenges as they step in to care for their grandchildren. In addition, grandparents must often stretch their budgets when they take on the day-to-day expenses of caring for a grandchild. The same is true for other kin caregivers, such as aunts or uncles. For these families, a little help can go a long way towards helping them raise their children in their care. What many of these caregivers do not know is that there is help available through a program called the Non-Parent Caregiver Grant. The grant is provided through the Erie county Department of Social Services and will provide up to $400 per month for one child and $125 for each additional child in a kincare family.

In fact, most kincare families are not receiving the grant. In New York State, according to public assistance data, only 8 percent of potentially eligible children are receiving the non-parent grant. Out of an estimated 410,000 children in the state who live with grandparents or other relatives, only about 32,000 are receiving the grant. That’s only one in twelve of eligible children.

The unique feature of the grant is that only the child’s income and financial resources are counted in determining the eligibility for the grant. Which means, unless the child has their own source of income, and the vast majority do not, almost all kincare families should be receiving the grant. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The caregiver’s income is not considered at all in making the grant. If the child receives Social Security benefits, the grant would be reduced or eliminated depending on the child’s own resources.

       If the child or children are placed by the Department of Social Services (Child Protective Services) into the relative caregiver’s home. More benefits are available such as day care or even summer camp, depending on the circumstances. In fact, most kincare families are not receiving the grant. In New York State, according to public assistance data, only 8 percent of potentially eligible children are receiving the non-parent grant. Out of an estimated 410,000 children in the state who live with grandparents or other relatives, only about 32,000 are receiving the grant. That’s only one in twelve of eligible children. Here are the important things you need to know about the grant:

Eligibility

  • Child’s income and resources ONLY are considered (Caregiver’s income is NOT included in application)
  • Legal custody or guardianship is NOT required but there must be some form of legal residency with the caregiver.
  • Caregivers must be caring for the child full-time without a parent in the home

How to Apply: For more information or to learn how to fill out the grant application, contact the New York State Kinship Navigator at: 1-877-KinInfo or 1-877-454-6463 navigator@nysnavigator.org www.nysnavigator.org

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