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

fice is the best re­source to dis­cuss so­cial se­cu­rity ben­e­fits.

4. Ben­e­fit­sCheckUp.org is a great web­site that pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive list of ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance pro­grams. The site helps grand­fam­i­lies search by state to de­ter­mine if they may also be el­i­gi­ble for guardian­ship sub­si­dies, non-par­ent grants or kin­ship care, lower en­ergy bills, dis­counts on pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions and much more.

5. AARP of­fers a wealth of in­for­ma­tion for grand­par­ents through their “Grand­facts” state facts sheets. Visit https://www. aarp.org/care­giv­ing for help find­ing in­for­ma­tion about col­lege sav­ings, pub­lic ben­e­fits and much more.

6. “The Sup­port­ing Grand­par­ents Rais­ing Grand­chil­dren Act” was passed into law in July this year. The law is fo­cused on find­ing ways to help grand­par­ents meet the health, ed­u­ca­tional, nu­tri­tional, etc. needs of the chil­dren in their care while also help­ing them main­tain their own phys­i­cal, men­tal and emo­tional well-be­ing. Find out more and know your rights.

Now that you’re equipped with these re­sources, do not un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of demon­strat­ing some kind of cus­tody or parental autho­riza­tion since the ma­jor­ity of aid pro­grams will re­quire this. With­out parental autho­riza­tion, a grand­par­ent will likely have trou­ble do­ing even ev­ery­day things like en­rolling a child in school or go­ing to the doc­tor.

There­fore, in or­der to be­come the best advocate for your­self and your grand­chil­dren, make sure you ob­tain the for­mal doc­u­men­ta­tion you’ll need. This will likely in­volve talk­ing with an at­tor­ney to learn more about the best ar­range­ment for your fam­ily’s sit­u­a­tion. Be­ing proac­tive is im­por­tant and will hope­fully pre­vent the courts from mak­ing a cus­tody/guardian­ship de­ci­sion for you and your grand­child.

If you’re among the gen­er­ous, hard-work­ing pop­u­la­tion of mil­lions of grand­fam­i­lies writ­ing a new story for your grand­child — thank you. While pro­vid­ing a sta­ble, lov­ing home for your grand­child prob­a­bly wasn’t in your re­tire­ment plan, you’re mak­ing a huge dif­fer­ence and have a great pur­pose to ful­fill. Tom Kalejta is an author of “Build­ing Wealth, Pro­tect­ing Dreams” and a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor. He is in­trigued by how Baby Boomers are chang­ing re­tire­ment trends and life­styles in the 21st cen­tury. He be­lieves in in­spir­ing his read­ers by talk­ing less about money and more about rein­vented pos­si­bil­i­ties — par­tic­u­larly when things don’t go as planned. He can be reached by email­ing thomasakale­jta@gmail. com.

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