|Answer||Eligibility for adoption assistance payments, among other criteria, requires that a child either meet the requirements of section 406 (a) or 407 of the Social Security Act (the Act)(as in effect on July 16, 1996) except for his removal from the home, or meet all requirements of title XVI with respect to eligibility for Supplemental Security Income benefits. This discussion will only address the requirement for meeting section 406(a) or 407 and not SSI eligibility. |
A child for whom eligibility for title IV-E adoption assistance payments is being established need not have been continuously eligible for title IV-E foster care during his tenure in foster care prior to the initiation of adoption proceedings. The critical times for meeting the eligibility requirements for AFDC is at the time of the child''s removal from the home and at the time the adoption proceedings are initiated. For example, a ten year old child enters foster care. At that time the child would have met all the requirements for AFDC in terms of deprivation (since parents were separated), need, age, and "living with" requirements, and his removal was the result of a court determination. However, no application for title IV-E foster care was made. Several months later, the child''s parents reunite and although he continues in care, the child would be ineligible for title IV-E foster care because he would no longer be deprived of parental support and care in his home. One year from the date of original placement, the father dies. The child, still in foster care, may now be eligible for AFDC if he meets the age and need requirements of the State. However the application for title IV-E foster care still is not made. Sometime after the death of the father, the mother''s parental rights are terminated, and the child is then free for adoption.
The agency reviews its caseload, evaluates the child''s situation and decides to apply for title IV-E foster care for the child. The State agency would reconstruct the facts at the time the child came into care to determine eligibility for AFDC insofar as the child met the "living with" requirements and could have been eligible for a payment under section 402 of the Act if an application had been made. The child''s present situation must be addressed to assure that the child currently meets the eligibility factors of age, deprivation and need. If, three months later, adoption proceedings are initiated, then current eligibility would be reviewed in terms of age and the child''s need, since deprivation was already established by the death of the father. Of course, the agency must also determine that the child meets the other criteria required by section 473 of the Act for adoption assistance.