How a Child in Foster Can Qualify for Social Security Benefits
Providing a loving foster home for a child is one of the greatest things that you can do. It is life changing for a child with no family to have the love and stability that a family can give. But, children with disabilities often don’t find foster homes because foster parents are afraid of the medical costs that these children have. Children with disabilities or illnesses that are in the foster system can qualify for Social Security benefits that will help pay for the costs of their care.
If you are fostering a disabled child, or thinking about fostering a disabled child, you should know that a disabled or sick child in the foster care system can qualify for SSI Supplemental Security Income benefits from the SSA.
In order to be eligible for SSI benefits a child must have a disability or a long-term illness that is listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. The Blue Book lists all medical conditions that qualify for benefits and gives a list of the requirements that must be met in order for the child to be approved for benefits based on that condition. You or the foster care system must provide medical records that document the child’s illness or disability.
For example, in order for a foster child with ADHD to qualify for SSI benefits you will need to show medical documentation that the child has been receiving treatment for a set period of time. You can submit hospital records, test results, statements from caseworkers, and any other documentation that shows the impact of the illness on the child’s behavior and development. If you are missing records you should talk to the child’s social worker or caseworker to get copies of those documents.
SSI benefits are designed to help low income families, so in order for your foster child to qualify for benefits you will need to show that your household income falls under the cap set by the Social Security Administration. The cap is on a sliding scale based on the number of working adults in the household. Most foster parents have no trouble meeting the cap requirement. You will need to provide copies of your pay stubs, W-2s, or Federal tax returns to document your income, and so will every other adult in the household that works. If the child you are fostering meets the medical requirements and you meet the financial requirements the child’s claim for SSI benefits will be approved.
Foster children can also qualify for Auxiliary Benefits from the Social Security Administration. That means if you are drawing Social Security because you are past retirement age or because you are disabled the child will be allowed to draw benefits based on your benefits to help mitigate the expenses of caring for that foster child.
Filing A Claim
The best way to start the claims process to get your foster child approved for SSI benefits is to make an appointment at your local SSA office. Take all of your documentation, including medical records and your financial records, to your appointment and a staff member at the office will be able to walk you through the application process.
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