Raising grandchildren in retirement
Millions of pre-retired and retired Americans are becoming part of a new trend. Unlike other trends, it’s one they likely didn’t envision for their golden years. Instead of learning a new hobby or dedicating time to life passions, this population is facing an entirely different reality. They are jumping back into the role of parenting.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly three million grandparents today are raising their grandchildren and the numbers are increasing. Poverty, substance abuse, death and extended military deployment are among the leading causes for this change in the family dynamic in America. The term “grandfamilies” has been coined to describe homes where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their children’s children.
As you might imagine, I’ve worked with several families who are both planning for retirement and raising grandchildren. Raising children at any age is expensive, but it presents a series of unique challenges for older Americans who are close to retirement or already retired. In my conversations, financial stress is usually grandparents’ primary concern. Some grandfamilies I’ve talked with have even had to go back to work to make ends meet.
That in mind, if you are a grandfamily or know a grandfamily, there are resources out there to help you navigate the challenges. Here are six different resources to educate yourself about, to help ease the financial responsibility of childrearing.
1. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federal program that provides financial assistance to help families with dependent children; and grandparents are most certainly eligible if they are the primary caregivers. While there are income limits to eligibility, every grandfamily should at least explore the option. Even if the grandparent does not qualify for TANF because of household income, they may still be able to receive support for the child through the “child-only grant”. As the name implies, any support would only be provided for the child’s financial needs.
2. Medicaid is available to all children who do not already have access to private health insurance. Therefore, grandparents can and should apply for Medicaid on behalf of their grandchild. Depending on the child’s medical history, this can be a huge financial relief if the child is frequently sick or needs any type of specialized medical care or services.
3. Social Security is an option for grandfamilies who are raising children whose parents are deceased and also for children with significant disabilities. For more information about eligibility, your local social security of
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