Are you a grandparent who is recently taken on the big responsibility of caring for your grandchildren on a day-to-day basis? This type of responsibility can be extremely overwhelming. Wow, you had anticipated your golden years where is being spent pursuing your interests and needs the lives of your grandchildren became difficult to put to the side if you knew that they were struggling in their home environment. As a result, you may have stepped in and taken on primary custody of them either on a legal or informal basis.

While doing so may have been second nature to you the truth is that raising children for a second time can push you to your limits. For one, having kids in the home can be emotionally taxing. As we get older our levels of patience may not be as great as they once were. With that being said the minor behavioral issues that your children may have had could be looked past on most occasions. However, when it comes to raising your grandchildren you may not have the same level of patience with them as you did with your children. It can be easy to bite off more than you can chew from an emotional perspective when it comes to raising your grandchildren.

Next, we need to consider the physical ramifications of raising your grandchildren. When I talk about physical ramifications I mean that raising children can be physically demanding for anyone. As a grandparent, you may have physical limitations of your own that you have acquired over the years. Getting up to care for a small child in the middle of the night can be even more demanding when you have a bad back or legs that just don’t seem to want to work as well now as they did when you were younger. These physical difficulties can manifest themselves in similar ways as mental frustrations with raising kids.

Next, we have the financial impact of raising your grandchildren. On the one hand, you may not have thought twice before jumping into the situation of raising your grandchildren. In your mind, you wouldn’t have it any other way in terms of being able to play a primary role in raising your grandchildren. You may even feel that it is your duty of yours to step into the void and provide your grandchildren with some stability in terms of their living arrangements. However, even if you have the best of intentions when it comes to raising your grandchildren that does not mean that you can make money appear out of nowhere or stretch your dollars thinner than they already are.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have noticed that prices of everyday household items have skyrocketed over the past few months. Grocery bills have gone up a great deal which may not have made much of a difference for you if it is just you or you and your spouse living together in a home. However, if you take on the massive responsibility of raising children then you will surely notice that your grocery and household bills are going to increase as a result. As a result, you may be thinking twice about whether or not you can even afford to care for your grandchildren. After all, you can’t work multiple jobs due to your grandchildren now living with you.

This is the backup by wardrobe set up regarding today’s blog post. The state of Texas makes various programs available to grandparents as you have stepped into the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I would like to share with you my thoughts on benefits that may be available to you as a grandparent who is raising your Grandchildren. As with any benefit, you can only take advantage of what you are aware of. My goal in writing today’s blog post is to help you understand a little bit more about these benefits, what they are, and whether you will be able to take advantage of them given your circumstances.

TANF Benefits for Grandparents

The first type of benefit that I would like to make sure that you are aware of is known as temporary assistance for needy families. This benefit is a federal program that provides money and helps families who have dependent children. Temporary assistance for needy families helps mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles, and aunts in raising children. The benefits received under this program are probably not sufficient to raise a household. As a result, you probably need to investigate working as you can during the week in addition to receiving these types of benefits.

If you have a grandchild living with you who is under the age of 18, your grandchild’s parents must also not live with you and your grandchild already receives the benefit then you may be eligible to receive benefits like this as well. Next, both you and your spouse if you are married must be over the age of 45 when you apply for benefits. The government will determine whether your family income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level as well as your resources being below the limit for this specific type of benefits.

If all the above is true, then you will be eligible to receive temporary assistance for needy families benefits. It can be a good idea to review the information on their website or simply to refer to the information contained in this blog before applying. The last thing you want to do is base a family budget on anticipated receipt of these benefits only to find out that you are not eligible based on your income or you’re not meeting any of the other factors included.

Can you work and still receive benefits?

The answer to this question is yes but you must understand that there are limits to how much income you can earn monthly based upon the size of your family. The larger your family is the more money you can earn per month and still be eligible for temporary assistance for needy families benefits. Additionally, you can own property and still be eligible to receive the benefits. Typically speaking, your countable resources cannot be worth more than $1000 for your entire household. However, you do not need to count your home and lot, your personal property, burial plots for you and your immediate family, resources that belong to people in your household who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits from the government as well as vehicles that are valued at less than $5000.

How do you know if your grandchild will qualify as a dependent?

Several factors must be in place for your grandchild to be classified as a dependent of yours. He or she must reside in Texas and therefore you must also reside in Texas. We have already covered this part, but your grandchild must also be under the age of 18 or at least enrolled in high school and be under the age of 19. Importantly, your grandchild must also not have enough income and resources for a healthy and decent living. For most children, this should not be an issue as earning an income sufficient to live a decent lifestyle can be quite difficult even for adults.

Next, your grandchild can be a dependent of yours so long as he or she lives with you or a close family member. Additionally, your grandchild’s parents must be away from the home, physically or mentally unable to care for your grandchild or deceased. Furthermore, for you to receive the one-time $1000 benefit as a grandparent of a child who is also receiving temporary assistance you must live and plan to live in Texas for the foreseeable future. Next, you must also be a U.S. citizen or an eligible alien resident able to provide your Social Security number.

Benefits for your grandchild only

As a grandparent, you might also be able to get temporary assistance for needy families benefits for your grandchild without your income or resources being reviewed first-period income that your grandchild receives from child support for survivors’ benefits will be reviewed, however. As a grandparent, you might be able to get temporary assistance for needy families benefits for yourself and your grandchild if your monthly income and resource amounts along with your grandchild’s meet the threshold limits of the program.

SNAP benefits

SNAP food benefits can help you and your grandchild to buy healthy food. The most significant requirement to be eligible for this program would be to have a low enough income. Your resources, assets, and income would be looked at in terms of being eligible for these food benefits. The amount of money that you stand to receive would vary depending upon the number of people who live in your household. The more people that live in the household the more benefits that you could receive.

Medicaid benefits

Medicaid is a government program 4 persons who are 65 and older, persons who are disabled, or children. You and your grandchild could get Medicaid if your income and resources meet the program rules for Medicaid. Medicaid allows for persons who otherwise could not purchase private health insurance or do not qualify for employer-provided health insurance to be able to see the doctor and receive medication that they may need. Hospital and dental care are also covered by Medicaid although you will need to verify which providers accept the insurance through Medicaid that would pay for your visits.

Another important area covered by Medicaid is mental health care. This can be very important for you and your grandchild especially if your grandchild has gone through a lot of trauma or disruption to their lives because of having to leave their household and move into yours. Many people would struggle with this degree of change in their lives. However, consider that it is a child that we are talking about in terms of their daily habits being altered and you have a greater propensity for significant mental issues.

The Children’s Health insurance program, or CHIP, is a health care benefit for your grandchild if he or she is under the age of 18. If your grandchild does not qualify otherwise for Medicaid and does not have health insurance, then this program is available under any circumstances. Like Medicaid, CHIP covers doctors’ visits as well as medicines prescribed by a doctor. If your grandchild has not been able to see a doctor or receive prescription medication for an extended period, then this truly is a great benefit that you may be able to take advantage of.

What other benefits may be available to you and your grandchild?

These are some of the more well-known government programs that may be available to you and your family because of your grandchild living with you. It would make a lot of sense for you to contact each place and determine eligibility. You may be in a situation where if you are receiving one benefit you would be unable to receive another or vice versa. However, when resources are tight at home then any benefit that you may be able to receive would be welcome in your household.

Otherwise, there are local resources that are not affiliated with state or federal government programs that might be able to help you. Some of these are probably well known to you and other people living in your community. However, others may be less well known, and you may have to perform some research for your local area to determine what programs exist if any. You may be surprised to learn that some programs are available even on the hyper-local level such as in your area or for a local church.

Food pantries are probably the best example of a hyper-local program that you may be able to take advantage of depending upon where you live. For those of you who live near the central core of Houston the Houston food bank do they good example of a food pantry that may be able to assist you and your grandchild. Likewise, local churches may offer you and your grandchild the opportunity to pick up groceries on a weekly or monthly basis. Your local church may offer help that can assist you with finding employment or services available in your area that can assist the family.

You should also check with your grandchild’s school to determine if there are after-school programs where your grandchild can stay after school while you finished off a day’s work. If your grandchild is old enough to come home after school and stay by him or herself then that gives you more options. However, in other circumstances, you may have to pay for childcare. Rather than pay for childcare, it would be great if the child school offered free care transportation was provided home each day.

Next, you should inquire as to whether you can obtain housing at a reduced cost through any county or city programs. Without knowing exactly where you live or what your circumstances are I couldn’t tell you what might be available to you. Most of us have heard of programs like Section 8 or similar opportunities for people to live and reduced or no rent situations. You may be able to take advantage of similar programs based on your income or asset level. However, you likely need to seek out these programs on your own and perform whatever research you need to find out about their availability.

Another benefit that might be useful to you is the ability to receive assistance in paying for items like rent, utilities, or even your prescription medicines. Many times, word water, electrical, gas, or another utility provider will offer deferred payments or reduced payments based upon your specific circumstances. Likewise, you may be able to receive reduced amounts of things like your prescription drugs simply by asking what benefits may be available. The bottom line is you may be surprised to find out that there are various services and benefits available to you bearing in mind your circumstances. However, you must take the initiative to ask about the benefits to receive them.

The reality of the situation is that there are available programs for you and your grandchild to take advantage of in your area. Some are offered by state, federal, and local governments and others are offered through the private sector. The key to understanding these benefits as well as which of them may be available to you is to take the initiative and start looking on your own. The more you put yourself out there the more likely you are to find a benefit that suits you and your family.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.