SI CHI00830.415 (IL) Illinois Adoption Assistance
Since Public Law 96-272 created title IV-E, adoption assistance payments in Illinois can be paid either under IV-E or entirely through state funds. There has been no change in the treatment of state-funded Illinois adoption assistance. The instructions on state-funded Illinois adoption assistance are in SI CHI00830.415B through SI CHI00830.415. Title IV-E payments are discussed in SI CHI00830.415E and in SI 00830.415.
B. State-funded Illinois adoption assistance
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) provides financial assistance in a program designed to make adoption possible for children under the care of DCFS who would otherwise remain in foster care until they reach adulthood. Such children are considered special needs children and meet one of the following criteria:
Child has an irreversible or non correctable physical, mental, or emotional disability;
Child has a physical, mental, or emotional disability correctable through surgery, treatment, or other specialized service;
Child is one year of age or older;
Child is a member of a sibling group who are being adopted together where at least one child meets one of the criteria above; or
Child is being adopted by adoptive parents who previously adopted, with adoption assistance, another child(ren) born of the same mother or father but who is no longer a legal sibling.
To qualify for adoption assistance, the adoptive parent of a special needs child in Illinois must submit an application in order to receive payment and must be recertified annually. Under the adoption assistance program, the income and resources of neither the child nor the parent are taken into consideration in establishing eligibility. Consequently, they are available for deeming to the adopted child (SI 01320.141)
C. Types of payments
Basically, the program has two types of subsidies:
Special Service Subsidy - This is a time limited payment (often a one-time only payment) to cover anticipated legal fees related to the adoption, medical costs, or other special services (e.g., physical therapy, counseling) the child may require. The amount of the subsidy may not exceed the amount DCFS would pay for the service if it provided the service directly. Payment is generally made directly to the vendor.
Long-Term Subsidy - This is a monthly payment beyond the legal consummation of the adoption and may continue until age 18. The subsidy may continue at age 19 if the child is still in school or until he/she reaches age 21, if there is documentation of disabilities. The amount of the monthly payment cannot exceed the monthly payment rate for foster care.
D. Treatment for SSI purposes
An opinion rendered by the Regional Attorney has clarified that payments under Illinois' State-funded adoption assistance program are not income for SSI purposes. The stated purpose of the state-funded adoption assistance program is to provide social services to adopting parents. The assistance provided under the program will be considered as social services for SSI purposes, and, therefore, will not be considered income to either the adopting parents or child(ren), in accordance with SI 00815.050.
E. Development and documentation
Cases involving state-funded adoption assistance payments must be developed and documented in accordance with SI 00830.415. Unlike state-funded adoption assistance, title IV-E adoption assistance causes a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the SSI benefits. See SI 00830.415 for instructions on title IV-E payments. If the recipient does not have the required evidence and if verification is required per SI 00830.415, it will be necessary to verify with DCFS by calling Monica Pedigo at DCFS, (217) 524-3191, or by fax at (217) 782-3882.