The Top Five Mistakes People Make When Applying for Adoption Assistance
1. Applying after the adoption is finalized. Families should wait to have a signed subsidy agreement before proceeding to finalize the adoption. It is very rare to have an adoption subsidy agreement made after an adoption has been finalized.
2. Assuming it will be easy to amend the subsidy agreement later. Just as families should not finalize an adoption before a subsidy agreement, families should likewise not assume they will be able to amend or update their subsidy later. Federal law (and some states) do permit for subsidy agreements to be renegotiated, but there is no guarantee this will be happen for any particular family.
3. Not preparing in advance of the application. Parents should be gathering information from the child’s medical providers, therapists, teachers, caseworkers, and others to help document the needs the family will have once the adoption is finalized.
4. Not including additional services. Some people wrongly assume a subsidy agreement cannot contain more than just financial assistance and Medicaid. In reality, the agreement may contain other services/needs agreed upon by the parties. If your child would benefit from additional services (e.g., state provided mental health services) this should be included in your subsidy agreement application.
5. Not seeking the full support they are eligible for. Some families are uncomfortable negotiating for a subsidy since they did not adopt for financial reasons. The mindset should be on receiving assistance for your child, not for yourself. If your child is entitled to subsidy/support, change your mindset from discomfort at receiving funding to maximizing the support services you can provide for your child, now and the in future.