Grandparents raising grandchildren face unique challenges as they becomes 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 state and local governments and can provide up to $400 per month for one child and $125 for each additional child in a kincare family (the amount varies by region).
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.
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.
- Child’s income and resources ONLY are considered (Caregiver’s income is NOT included in application)
- Legal custody or guardianship is NOT required
- 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
Also, visit AARP Foundation’s Benefits QuickLink tool for kincare families at www.benefitscheckup.org. This online tool helps to match grandparents raising grandchildren with public benefits, including the non-parent grant, and many others.
By stepping in to care for a child when parents cannot, kin caregivers help keep children out of more expensive foster care, reduce financial costs to state and local agencies, and improve the well-being of children in their care. Grandparents and kin caregivers provide stable, loving homes for children that is often lacking in foster care, which is why it is so vital to ensure that these caregivers receive support and resources that are available to them.
AARP New York is committed to helping kin caregivers, and along with helping to establish the New York State Kincare Coalition, AARP has helped to resolve some of the legal challenges faced by caregivers. In New York State, AARP has helped to enact laws that: allow relative caregivers to make important decisions regarding a child’s health care and school enrollment; make it easier for grandparents to become foster parents, and give grandparents legal standing in certain custody proceedings.
The work AARP New York does to support kin caregivers is made possible by support from the AARP Foundation through a generous grant from the New York Life Foundation. Through this grant, AARP and the New York State Kincare Coalition are able to help kin caregivers as they raise the children in their care and call attention to their often overlooked needs.
New York State Kinship Navigator
AARP Foundation’s Benefits QuickLink