Written by Denise Nash Saturday, 05 September 2009 00:00
Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs recently reminded those grandparents who are raising their grandchildren that there is a non-parent caregiver grant available through the state of New York. According to Jacobs, many people who qualify for the grant do not apply for it.
“This is a little known resource to help ease the financial burden that grandparents often experience while raising their grandchildren,” Jacobs said. “And less than 10 percent of the people that are eligible for the grants have applied. I encourage grandparents to contact the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights now. Money should not be an obstacle when raising grandchildren.”
The non-parent caregiver grant is part of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families funding provided by the Department of Social Services. The National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights said they are committed to helping grandparents obtain the grant.
Although formal custody of the children is not required, the child must reside with the grandparents and no parent can be present.
“This grant is not for the grandparents who are babysitting the children while the parents work,” said Brigitte Castellano, executive director for the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights. “The grandparents, or other relative caregivers, must show proof that the children reside with them with no parent present.”
This grant is unlike most financial assistance grants, as the non-parent caregiver grant is not predicated on the income or assets of the recipient. Eligible grandparents will receive approximately $400 a month for one grandchild, and approximately an additional $150 a month for each additional child.
According to Castellano, many grandparents do not apply for a variety of reasons. “Either they are unaware of the grant; they believe they must have custody to be eligible or they believe the county will try to recoup some of the money from the parents so the grandparents do not want to make any waves as they fear the parents could remove the child if the state goes after the money.”
Castellano explained that there are two situations under which the child support requirement of the parents can be waived. “Domestic violence and good cause,” are the two situations according to Castellano.
If needed, Castellano said that the “client/applicant can advise the eligibility worker of a history or threat of domestic violence and the worker will refer the client/applicant to our domestic violence liaison for an interview and the liaison will make a recommendation on a waiver. Good cause requires evidence to corroborate the claim,” she said.
For more information and help applying, call the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights: Long Island Kinship Connection at (516) 481-1006, (631) 444-3160, 1-866-624-9900, or visit www.nysnavigator.org/county/nassau.php or www.nysnavigator.org.