SI DAL00830.415 Adoption Assistance - Oklahoma (TN 16 -- 7-2005)

A. Background

When an SSI claimant receives adoption assistance from the State of Oklahoma, it is very important to determine the funding source of the payment. Further, an Oklahoma law now provides that for adoption assistance to continue past age 19, an individual must file an application for SSI before attaining age 19.

B. Income Determinations

Adoption assistance payments from the State of Oklahoma are made from two funding sources.

1. Title IV-E

If the adoption assistance payment is Title IV-E funded, then by Federal statute, the payment is considered income to the adopted child (type “O” income) and reduces the Federal Benefit Rate dollar-for-dollar (i.e., not subject to the $20.00 general exclusion).

2. State-funded Adoption Assistance

The State of Oklahoma program policy provisions state that adoption assistance “…is designed to provide adoptive families of any economic stratum...with financial support to care for children considered difficult to place. *** Benefits through the adoption assistance program are designed to supplement the resources of the adoptive family.” Consequently, 100 percent State-funded adoption assistance cannot be excluded as assistance based on need (i.e., there is not a needs-based test). Further, 100 percent State-funded adoption assistance is income (type “S” income) to the adoptive parent(s)—not the child.

C. Verification

In many cases, an individual receiving adoption assistance from the State of Oklahoma will not know the source of the payments (i.e., 100% State-funded or Title IVE). The local Department of Human Services office may not be able to provide reliable funding information. Therefore, the State has asked that DOs call the Adoption Assistance headquarters office in Oklahoma City at (405) 522-4487 to verify the source and amount of adoption assistance if the individual does not have the needed documentation. Explain that you are with Social Security and need to verify the amount and source of adoption assistance for an individual filing for SSI.

D. Filing Before Age 19

Oklahoma House Bill (HB) 1734 provides that for adoption assistance to continue past age 19, the individual must file for SSI no later than 60 days prior to attaining age 19. About 6 months prior to attaining age 19, the adoptive parent will receive a letter (see E below) from the State of Oklahoma explaining that for adoption assistance to continue, they must file an application for SSI. For these individuals, issuing an automated SSA-L991-U3 informal denial does not meet the provision of HB 1734 which requires an SSI application. The letter received from Oklahoma also provides the source of funding (see last bullet in letter) for the adoption assistance payments, and thus, the letter can be used as verification of the source of this income.

E. Exhibit

Exhibit – State of Oklahoma Letter to Adoption Assistance Recipients

OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

Sequoyah Memorial Office Building

P.O. Box 25352

Oklahoma City, Okla. 73125

www.okdhs.org

Month DD, YYYY

Dear Adoptive Parent(s):

Our records show that _________ will turn 19 on _______. Oklahoma State law provides that such assistance will terminate upon attainment of age 19 effective with the last day of the child's birth month except where (1) the child has applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with the Social Security Administration (SSA); (2) the SSI application is pending or has been denied; and (3) if denied SSI, the child's needs, conditions, or behaviors meet the criteria for difficulty of care (DOC) IV or V. Not later than 60 days prior to the child reaching the age of 19, the adoptive parent(s) must provide OKDHS with the following.

  • Documentation that a formal application for SSI has been received by the SSA and is pending or has been denied; AND

  • If the SSI application is pending with SSA, the adoptive parent(s) must provide documentation monthly to OKDHS that demonstrates due diligence in providing to SSA the necessary information to timely process the child's SSI application (NOTE: SSA will provided an claims "receipt" when you file for SSI.  Keep this as evidence of "due diligence."); OR

  • If the SSI application has been denied by SSA, the adoptive parent(s) must provide medical or psychological evidence that demonstrates the child's needs, conditions, or behaviors meet the criteria for DOC IV or V.

When contacting SSA to file an application for SSI, the adoptive parent will need to make two things very clear:

  • Tell SSA that you must file a formal application for SSI; and

  • Tell the SSA representative that the adoption assistance for _______ is funded with _______ funds.