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Adoption Subsidy Glossary

Adoption Subsidy and Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses Agreement (LDSS-4623A): This is a legal contract for payment between the adoptive parent(s) and the local department of social services or the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. This legal contract must be on the approved form and is not effective until the date specified on the form. All required signatures must be on this document. It is very important for adoptive parent(s) to keep a copy of the final approved Adoption Subsidy and Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses Agreement in a safe and accessible location for easy reference throughout the lifetime of the contract.

Adoptive Placement: A child has been placed into a home for the purpose of adoption, and the agency and the child’s prospective adoptive parent(s) have signed an Adoptive Placement Agreement (APA). The facts of such APA, have been recorded in accordance with Social Services Law.

Approved Subsidy: An Adoption Subsidy and Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses Agreement that is signed by the prospective or adoptive parent(s), the local department of social services official, and the New York State Adoption Services (NYSAS) official is considered approved.

Approved Adoptive Parent(s): The person(s) approved by a local department of social services, an authorized voluntary agency, or a court to adopt a child.

Audit Worthy: All expenditures of public funds are subject to audits or reviews to determine that expenditures were made in accordance with statutes and regulations governing their use. Audits are also done to determine whether program operations comply with statues and regulations. Adoption subsidy approvals and program operations can be audited by local, county, state, and federal officials or firms hired to conduct these fiscal and programmatic reviews. Positive audit results confirm that public funds are being used as authorized. Unauthorized expenditures are subject to repayment and possible further penalty.

Documentation: Regulations and policy require that adoption subsidy agreements for handicapped subsidies have a document from a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist or “qualified professional” that includes the diagnosis or assessment of a child’s physical, mental or emotional condition or disability that would constitute a significant obstacle to the child’s adoption.

Effective Date: The effective date is the date payment of the adoption subsidy is to begin. Maintenance Subsidy will generally not begin until an adoption is finalized for a child in the guardianship and custody of a social services official.

Final Approval: An Adoption Subsidy and Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses Agreement must be reviewed and signed by the NYSAS official or the official authorized by NYSAS to complete the last step in the review process.

Foster Care Board Rate: This is the amount paid to foster parent(s) or to a prospective adoptive parent(s) for maintenance of child(ren) in the guardianship and custody of a social services official or a voluntary authorized agency. The foster care board rate is based on the needs of the child and is established as regular/normal(basic) special or exceptional as defined in regulations.

Handicapped Child: Handicapped child means a child who possesses a specific physical, mental, or emotional condition or disability of such severity or kind, which in the opinion of the office, would constitute a significant obstacle to the child’s adoption.

Hard-to-Place Child:  A child other than a handicapped child who has not been placed for adoption within six months from being freed or placed within six months from an adoption disruption. A child may also meet eligibility for hard-to-place if he/she has been in a placement for a specified period of time prior to signing of the Adoptive Placement Agreement or who meets certain age, sibling group, or other requirements.

Legal Guardian/Custodians: Legal Guardian/Custodian refers to a court appointed guardian or custodian following the death of adoptive parent(s). Application for change of payee must be submitted to New York State Adoption Services for review and approval using form LDSS-4623C-2.

Medical Assistance (MA)/Medicaid:  This is medical coverage for children who are either Title IV-E eligible or who are not Title IV-E eligible but are eligible under the provisions of the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985 prior to finalization.

Medical Subsidy: This is medical reimbursement for an adopted child(ren) who does not qualify for Medicaid (See above). This program requires that adoptive parent(s) pay for his/her child’s medical expenses and submit claims for reimbursements to the local department of social services. Reimbursement payments are made by the local department social services and will not exceed the schedules of payments for such care, services and supplies available under New York State’s Medical Assistance program. Medical subsidy may be used to pay for qualifying expenses not covered by any other insurance held by the adoptive parent(s).

Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses: Non-recurring adoption expenses are reasonable one-time only expenses related to the adoption finalization of a child with special needs. The Adoption Subsidy and Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses Agreement must be approved prior to the adoption finalization in order for eligible children to qualify. These expenses are reimbursed after the child’s adoption is finalized and may not exceed the maximum level established by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. Receipts or other appropriate supporting documentation must be submitted within two years of the adoption finalization to the local social services department having custody of the child prior to finalization. Not all special needs children qualify for non-recurring adoption expenses.

Post Finalization Application: this is a written request (LDSS-4623B) for adoption subsidy for a child who was in the guardianship of the commissioner of social services department or a voluntary authorized agency whose adoption was finalized without a subsidy. Adoptive parents may request subsidy for a pre-existing condition that the adoptive parents first became aware of subsequent to the adoption finalization and a physician has certified that the condition existed prior to the child’s adoption or a fair hearing ruled that the child is entitled to adoption subsidy.

Qualified Professional: A qualified professional is a New York State licensed nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant or a professional staff from the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD), the Office of Mental Health (OMH), or the Social Security Administration (SSA) who meets the credentials required by his or her organization to make an assessment or diagnosis of a child’s condition and eligibility for services. Documentation from a qualified professional is only acceptable for certain applications.

Regulations: Refers to the federal and state mandates governing the adoption subsidy program in New York State.

Representative or Adoptee Payee:  The adoptee payee (age 18-21) or representative payee refers to a person appointed to receive the subsidy payment by the social services district following the death of the adoptive parent(s). Application for change of payee must be submitted to New York State Adoption Services for review and approval using form LDSS-4623C-2.

Subsidy Maintenance Payment: This is the monthly adoption payment made to the parent(s) or other authorized payee for the care of a special needs child(ren) who is to be or has been adopted as authorized in the approved Adoption Subsidy and Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses Agreement. The maintenance payment rate is based upon the foster care board rate of a local department of social services. The rate level can be basic, special, or exceptional depending on an individual’s documented need. Rates may be affected by the age of the child, the address of the adoptive parent(s), or parent income and size of family.

Technical Amendment: This is a written request (LDSS-4623C-1) for changes to the approved Agreement following finalization. Technical Amendments do not require a change in the level of payment. The following changes are covered by a technical amendment;

  • Addition of another adoptive parent to the Agreement when the adopted child is adopted by a second-parent, or
  • Changing the name of the adoptive parents on the Agreement due to a change in marital status or
  • Changing the name of a legal guardian or custodian, or representative payee due to a change in marital status.

Upgrade or Substantive Amendment: An upgrade or substantive amendment is a written request (LDSS-4623C-2)
following finalization of the adoption for an adjustment of the subsidy rate or eligibility. An upgrade is submitted for;

  • A worsening of a condition known to the parents at the time of the adoption, or the development of a handicapped condition not identified in the original Agreement and current documentation supports the higher rate being requested.

A substantive amendment is submitted in order to:

  • Add a legal guardian or custodian, adoptee or representative payee upon the death of an adoptive parent(s)
  • Make a change due to provisions in statute or regulation that impact the child’s subsidy eligibility or
  • Comply with a fair hearing decision.

Note: For children surrendered directly to a NYS authorized voluntary agency the process may vary.
Contact New York State Adoption Services at 1-800-345-5437 for more information.