Friday, August 29, 2014

Eligibility Part 5 Practical Advice and Questions Title IV-E Adoption Assistance in Ohio

NEXT: Wednesday August 27, More Practical Advice and Questions

1. If an "applicable" child's disability may qualify them for SSI eligibility, may the county children services agency make the disability determination? Note: An "applicable child is one who is exempt from the ADC-Relatedness requirement for adoption assistance.

Yes, the county agency does not make SSI eligibility determinations per se, but in the case of an applicable child, the agency may determine if the child meets the disability requirements for SSI in order to qualify for Title IV-E adoption assistance.

2. What is the advantage of IV-E adoption assistance over SSI after the adoption is finalized?

When the pre adoptive parents become the legal parents at finalization, their income is deemed as income to the child.  SSI is means tested and the income threshold is low enough that most children would lose all or most of the SSI benefit. Adoption assistance is not means tested. Accordingly, for most adoptive families, SSI is most useful as a pathway to IV-E adoption assistance. 

3.  Private agency adoptions involve voluntary placements in contrast to most public agency adoptions.  In some cases, however, the private agency must petition the court for termination of parental rights instead of completing a permanent surrender (voluntary relinquishment).  If the court makes the judicial determination that remaining in the home is contrary to the child's welfare or that placement is in the child's best interest, does that order meet the judicial determination requirement for IV-E adoption assistance eligibility?

Yes, if it is the first court order removing the child from the home.  A private agency recently won adoption assistance eligibility for a child in a 2014 case.

4. What are the components of ADC-Relatedness?

It should be emphasized that the great majority of applicants will not encounter a problem with ADC Relatedness.  In the minority cases where ADC-relatedness becomes an issue, however, the adopting parents should not take an agency denial at face value, because the in many cases, the agency has not its homework.

The two components of ADC-Relatedness are the ADC Deprivation Standard and the Need Standard.  The  old OAC rules can be found in the Appendix of OAC rule 5101:2-47-14.1

Old ADC rule 5101:1-3-011 defines " Deprivation of parental support or care" as a "nonfinancial eligibility requirement" for ADC.  The rule lists four ways of meeting the deprivation requirement. 

(A) Death of one or both of the legal parents.

(B) Absence of a continuing nature of one or more of the legal parents as set forth in rule 5101:1-3-012 of the Administrative Code.

(C) Incapacity of one or more of the legal parents as forth in rule 5101:1-3-14 of the Administrative Code.

 (D) Unemployment of a legal parent as set forth in rules 5101:1-3-15 to 5101:1-3-155 of Administrative Code.

In cases where there are two birth parents, incapacity which includes drug and alcohol dependency, is a common factor and one that county agencies frequently overlook.  We have won several appeals on this issue after an original denial by the county agency.

Old OAC rule 5101:1-21-04 in the Appendix of OAC 5101:2-47-14.1 set forth ADC Need Standards that applied to July 1996.  To meet the Need Standard a family must earn less than the 100% standard, minus certain disregards.  The 100% standard is based on family size. According to the chart in the rule, for example, if the birth family formed an assistance group of 3, it would have to have earned over $950, minus legal disregards to have exceeded the 100% ADC Need Standard