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Appendix 1581.1: Appropriate Needs

CPS December 2011

Approvals for expenditures made with lump sum funds must be reviewed and approved by, at a minimum, the regional SSI coordinator, the CPS supervisor, and the CPS program director. Each region establishes procedures for the lump sum expenditure review and approval process.

Authorized Lump Sum Expenditures

Items or services purchased from lump sum awards are used to address a child’s needs which directly relate to his or her disability, or other needs outside of his daily needs which are met by the foster care provider. These are defined as the child’s “Appropriate Needs”. If the need arises, items or services may be purchased at a later time from funds placed into a savings account for the child. Staff should be cognizant of the child’s ongoing needs when making expenditure requests.

Items or services included as part of the child’s Medicaid benefit may not be purchased with the lump sum award. Expenditures relating to a child’s disability may include, but are not limited to:

  •   renovations to the home for the child’s care and comfort, if the child is permanently placed with parents or relatives;

  •   wheelchair ramps, handrails, widening of doorways, and modification of bathroom facilities, if the child is permanently placed with parents or relatives;

  •   assistive devices that will help the child with disabilities to function and live a more productive life; and

  •   computers or other electronic devises that may be useful depending on the child’s disability, age, and continuing educational goals.

Lump sum awards cannot be used on items or services that can be met under the general auspices of paid foster care (for example, the purchase of general clothing). Examples of appropriate items or services not met by the foster care maintenance payment may include, but are not limited to:

  •   fees, clothing or items for extracurricular or summer activities;

  •   fees, clothing or items for school-related events or graduation;

  •   hobbies; and

  •   any items that would directly enhance the child’s life.

For additional examples, see Appendix 1581: Examples of Appropriate and Inappropriate Items and Services To Purchase With Lump Sum Benefits.

For additional information regarding needs for a child with disabilities, consult with the regional Developmental Disability specialist, state office SSI program specialist, or the Children with Disabilities program specialist.

Recommendations for Purchases

Within 14 days of notification from the SSI coordinator, the child's caseworker or supervisor sends the recommendations of expenditures to the SSI. Each recommendation must be approved by the SSI coordinator, CPS supervisor, and the program director. When expenditures for items or services relating to a child’s disability are recommended, the regional Developmental Disability specialist may be involved in the approval process.

If any of the recommendations involve the purchase of an item whose total cost is greater than $500, staff submitting recommendations must obtain three price quotes for the item or justify why three quotes were not obtained. Professionals familiar with the child’s disability should support these recommendations in writing. A caretaker who is familiar with the child’s daily needs may make other recommendations. The price quotes and recommendations are forwarded to the SSI coordinator so that they are available for staff review and approval. Reviews and approvals may be handled via e-mail.

Requests for expenditures may be made after lump sum funds have been placed into a savings account for the child. The child’s worker makes the request to the SSI coordinator in these situations. Refer to the policy regarding Appropriate Needs items for the child. (See Appendix 1581: Examples of Appropriate and Inappropriate Items and Services to Purchase With Lump Sum Benefits)

Documentation

The regional SSI coordinator maintains documentation of the decisions made by the benefits committee. Receipts for purchases are maintained by the regional Children’s Income Accounting unit in accordance with policy in 1567 Records Retention Requirements for Transactions Involving Children’s Funds.

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