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Loophole is preventing some foster children from accessing benefits

Some states are working on ensuring children can access their benefits.
Foster Care
Posted at 9:37 AM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 09:37:47-04

Children in foster care who have a disability or a parent who died qualify for two different kinds of Social Security benefits, while some kids qualify for both.

However, not all of them are getting the money.

According to the Marshall Project, 49 states collect these benefits.

Children in foster care never see this money because of a loophole.

Federal law says that states must provide their own resources for foster care, but state officials are legally able to become the financial representative for foster children.

Child welfare experts say federal funding has become more complicated for states to get since the late 1990s.

But New York City is leading the way with a new plan to get those checks to kids.

A bank account will be set up for each child who is eligible for benefits, then they'll receive access to it once they are either adopted or age out of the child welfare system.

“We're also offering them training and their families training on both how to work with the Social Security Administration and also some financial literacy training,” said Stephanie Gendell at the New York City Administration for Child Services.

Gendell says this can make a huge difference, especially for older kids, as it can mean money for their first apartment or college tuition.

Foster care agencies in New York City are anticipating this new system will be in place by the summer of 2022.

“We've been working very closely with the Social Security Administration on how to do this and how to find any of the challenges that might be involved in setting it up, so I think our laying the groundwork will definitely help other jurisdictions,” said Gendell.

Legislation on this is expected to be introduced in Philadelphia this week.

Nebraska, Texas, Minnesota and Illinois also have similar measures pending.