SI CHI00830.419 (IL) Title IV-E Illinois Subsidized Guardianship Payments (RTN 394 -- 09/2006)

A. General

The State of Illinois has created a project, “Subsidized Guardianship,” for children who otherwise would spend many years in foster care. The new option will be offered only when other goals, including returning home and adoption, have been ruled out as acceptable alternatives. The State of Illinois will operate a demonstration of this child welfare project statewide.

The project consists of a subsidized guardianship arrangement for children who have been in foster care for one year or more, and who meet other criteria that indicate the child is likely to remain in out-of-home-care. All foster parents and relative caregivers in the project group will be eligible for the subsidized guardianship arrangement with an emphasis placed on kinship care. Each guardianship will be established by court order. The state will use Title IV-E funds to match guardianship payments for such children, as if they were in Title IV-E adoption assistance.

B. Program Funding

When a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) ward enters the Subsidized Guardianship Program, the child, although no longer a ward of DCFS, continues to receive monthly payments from DCFS. The amount of the payment will usually continue to be the same as the amount received before the establishment of the subsidized guardianship.

The payment may be reduced due to the receipt of Title II benefits but is not reduced due to the receipt of SSI payments. These payments may or may not contain Title IV-E funds granted under a special waiver. Any Title IV-E payments will reduce the amount of SSI payments dollar-for-dollar (the same as regular Title IV-E foster care payments).

C. Income Determination for SSI

Subsidized guardianship payments made to a guardian under Title IV-E are Federally funded income based on need (SI 00830.170) to the child. This income is not subject to the $20 general exclusion (SI 00810.420), and the PMV (SI 00835.300) cannot be applied because the income is not ISM. Therefore, the subsidized guardianship payment is considered income based on need to the child and is counted dollar-for-dollar.

Subsidized guardianship payments involving funds provided under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act are social services and are not income for SSI purposes. Therefore, verification of the payment amount and funding source of any subsidized guardianship payment will need to be done on a case-by-case basis.

D. Living Arrangement Development

The children in the subsidized guardianship program will be placed under the care and supervision of their guardians and each legal guardian will have a written agreement with the State for the subsidized guardianship services provided and payments rendered on behalf of the child in question during the period of guardianship. The program also ensures that guardianship orders issued by the courts convey to the guardian(s) the legal authority to take all action that a guardian may take for a child under Illinois law. Therefore, since the child is no longer a ward of DCFS, the child's living arrangement should be developed per (SI 00835.005.)

E. Subsidized Guardianship Payment Verification

Title IV-E subsidized guardianship payments cause a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the SSI benefits. See (SI 00830.410) for instructions on Title IV-E payments. FOs needing to verify Title IV-E payments made by DCFS per SI 00830.415, can do so by either calling (217) 524-3191) or faxing (217) 782-3882) Monica Pedigo at DCFS in Springfield. Fax requests must be addressed to "Attn: Monica Pedigo" and include the name and social security number of the child and the period of time for which the Title IV-E information is needed. If necessary, follow-up requests can be made to Monica Pedigo after one week. A faxed follow-up should be labeled “Second Request.”

If the verification shows a breakout of the amount of the Title IV-E payment that is federal funds, and the amount that is state funds, the total amount of the payment should be considered income based on need. The breakout should be considered informational only, and does not affect the income determination.

F. Subsidized Guardianship Coding

Title IV