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What Financial Assistance Can I Receive When Raising My Grandchild?

Posted on in Child Custody

Barrington, IL family law attorney legal guardianship

In some instances, both biological parents raising their child is not a possibility. Maybe the child has lost his or her parents or perhaps the parents have a history of abuse and therefore lost custody of their child. When a parent dies or is deemed unable to care for a child, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will typically look to the child’s next of kin to be his or her caregiver. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents are valid options to care for the child as a legal guardian. However, grandparents may struggle to financially support the child, especially if they are retired and do not have a biweekly income. Luckily, the state of Illinois offers a number of financial assistance options to help these guardians support their grandchild.

Assistance Options

The Illinois government provides legal guardians with financial assistance in a number of ways. Depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible to receive the following assistance:

  1. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF): There are two types of grants offered that classify under TANF. Child Only Grants are available to legal guardian grandparents regardless of their income level. They will receive $100/child each month to be used toward the child’s needs. This also qualifies the child for medical assistance and often serves as proof that the child does indeed fully reside with the grandparents. Regular TANF Grants are only available to those with limited income. These grants provide a larger check than Child Only Grants and are limited to a five-year period.

  2. Food Stamps/WIC: This is reserved for low-income families, including grandparents who serve as the children’s legal guardians. If the child is under 5 years old, the family may be eligible for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) assistance. The LINK card is Illinois’ version of food stamps and low-income guardians may be eligible for this form of support.

  3. Social Security: Depending on the parents’ working status, their income level, and their work benefits, a child may be eligible to receive a retired grandparent’s benefits. If one of the child’s parents is deceased or disabled and the child is ineligible to receive benefits from the parent’s workplace, the grandchild may be considered a child of the retired grandparent in order to receive his or her work benefits. This would provide the grandparent with dependent benefits in addition to his or her regular retirement benefits.

  4. Child Support: Any child support arrangements must be designated by the court and the grandparents must have legal custody of their grandson or granddaughter. This would be the case if the parents’ other children are still alive but have been named unfit to care for the child.

Contact a Barrington Family Law Attorney

In the midst of a divorce, some grandparents may be concerned about their rights to see their grandchildren, or they may even be interested in becoming their legal guardians. If either of these applies to you, it is critical to speak with a Barrington, IL child custody lawyer for legal help and guidance. Becoming a child’s legal guardian is a large undertaking and you should be sure that you are mentally and financially prepared for this responsibility. The compassionate legal team at Lucas Law has helped biological parents and grandparents with their custody arrangements for over 25 years. Contact our legal professionals today at 847-381-8700 to schedule your initial consultation. 




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