Rais­ing grand­chil­dren in re­tire­ment

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - BUSINESS -

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


Tom Kalejta

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