AB 1331 requires counties to screen all foster youth for potential SSI/SSP eligibility when foster youth are at least 16.5 years of age and no more than 17.5 years of age. The statute also addresses the problem with current federal regulations, which causes the denial of SSI to youth getting foster care benefits over the SSI level of PRIOR to having a medical eligibility determination. Counties are to forego federal AFDC-FC benefits for the potentially SSI/SSP eligible youth for one month, during which time an SSI/SSP application is submitted. Social Security agreed to accept and process applications for foster youth during the month they are in receipt of State AFDC-FC. Counties thus must transfer a youth from federal AFDC-FC to State AFDC-FC for one month while the SSI/SSP application is submitted. After the one month transfer, the youth must be transferred back to federal AFDC-FC. The letter reminds counties to submit applications early enough to allow a determination to be made by SSA as to the youth’s eligibility PRIOR to the youth’s emancipation (estimating this takes six months!). Once the youth has been determined to be medically eligible for SSI/SSP, if the youth is in receipt of federal AFDC-FC benefits in excess to what they would receive in SSI/SSP, counties can request that the SSA put the youth’s SSI/SSP benefits in suspense for up to 12 months.
Though effective January 1, 2008, no additional funds to implement the bill are available in the current Fiscal Year. The ACL encourages counties to implement AB 1331 with existing allocations. [Download]