WAG 04-05-05: Foster Children and Adults

PM 04-05-05

 revised manual textFoster care children and adults are considered boarders and cannot receive SNAP separately from the household providing the foster care. Although considered boarders, the policy differs in how foster care children and adults are considered in the eligibility determination for SNAP. Boarder policy in PM 05-02-01 and determining reasonable compensation for lodging and meals does not apply to foster children and adults.

revised manual textThe household providing the foster care may, if receiving SNAP, request to include or exclude a person who is in foster care. The following are examples of SNAP household status when a foster person is in the home:

  • revised manual textExample 1: Mr. D lives with his wife, their son, age 10, and a foster child, age 14. The D family buys and prepares food in common with the foster child. The family receives monthly foster care payments for the foster child.
  • The D family has the option of:
  • revised manual textexcluding the foster child as a non-SNAP household member. If the foster child is excluded, the foster care payment is not considered when determining eligibility for the D family; or
  • revised manual textincluding the foster child as a member of their SNAP household. This makes the foster care payment nonexempt unearned income. The foster child is included in the SNAP household (included in the SNAP EDG in IES) with the D family and the foster care payment is budgeted when determining eligibility and the benefit amount.  See PM 08-04-04-e for the treatment of foster care payments.
  • revised manual textExample 2: Mr. M and his wife are foster parents for a 16-year old girl. The 16-year-old has a baby who is not in foster care. Mr. M and his wife are applying for SNAP for all 4 of them. The Mr. M and his wife receive monthly foster care payments for the 16-year old foster girl. The HSC explains that the 16-year foster girl can be:
    • included in the SNAP household and her foster care payments will be considered nonexempt income when determining SNAP eligibility; or
    • excluded and the foster care payments will not be considered. 
  • At Mr. and Mrs. M's request the 16-year old is excluded. Approve SNAP for Mr. M, his wife and the baby.
  • new manual textExample 3: Mr. S and his wife are foster parents for a l7-year old girl. Mr. S and his wife are not on, nor are they applying for SNAP. The 17-year old is the payee for her baby's TANF case. She is applying for SNAP for the baby because she says she buys and prepares the baby's food separately from everyone else in the home. Approve SNAP for the baby only. Use the TANF check as the only income for the SNAP case.

DCFS Child Living with Relatives

  • When a DCFS payment (except Adoption Care Assistance) is made for a child, the child is considered a foster child for SNAP.

Child Not Included in SNAP Household

  • If the SNAP household decides to exclude the foster child from the SNAP household, do not budget any of the child's income. This includes the DCFS payment.
  • Example: Ms. K receives SNAP. Her 14-year old sister Mary, who is a DCFS child, lives with her. Mary is eligible for an SSI payment. Since Mary is a DCFS ward, the SSI payment goes directly to DCFS. DCFS provides Ms. K with a monthly payment to care for Mary. Mary is considered a foster child for SNAP purposes. Ms. K chose to exclude Mary from the SNAP household.  Mary's income from DCFS and SSI is not budgeted for Ms. K's SNAP benefits..

Child Included in SNAP Household

  • If the SNAP household decides to include the foster child, budget:
    • the child's income paid to DCFS,
    • the child's income paid to the SNAP household, and
    • the portion of the DCFS payment that is more than the amount of the child's income paid to DCFS.
  • Count the full amount of the ward's income paid to DCFS even if the SNAP household does not actually receive the money.
  • To determine if there is a DCFS payment to budget, subtract the ward's income paid to DCFS from the total DCFS payment to the relative. Budget any amount remaining.

Do not count the DCFS payment for the ward as income to the SNAP household when the ward's income paid to DCFS is greater than the DCFS payment.

  • Example 1: The SNAP household consists of Ms. W and her niece, Sally. Sally is a DCFS child. DCFS is the guardian and receives Sally's SSI in the amount ofrevised manual text$841. DCFS pays Ms. W revised manual text$511. They keep the rest of Sally's SSI revised manual text($330) in an account for her. Count the whole SSI payment of revised manual text$841 for SNAP. Do not count the DCFS payment.
    • Total DCFS payment revised manual text$511
      SSI paid to DCFS - revised manual text  $841
      Amount of DCFS payment to budget $ 0
  • Example 2: Michael lives with his grandmother and DCFS is his guardian. His SSA benefit of $130 is paid to DCFS. DCFS pays his grandmother $511 for his care.
    • Total DCFS payment revised manual text$511
      SSA paid to DCFS   - $130
      Amount of DCFS payment to budget revised manual text$381
    • Budget Michael's SSA of $130 and revised manual text$381 of the DCFS payment for SNAP.