Bill would ease financial burden on caregivers raising kids due to opioids

Posted: Updated:
MASTIC BEACH -

Protecting grandparents and other family caregivers is the focus of the Grandfamilies Act unveiled Friday by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The legislation would help ease the financial burden of grandparents who are raising grandchildren because of the opioid crisis. Grandparents would be eligible to use a child's Social Security benefits if they've had legal custody for at least a year. States would be prohibited from using income or employment as a factor when allotting temporary cash assistance.

The bill would also provide service coordinators to give grandparents guidance and support and make it easier for grandparents to get temporary custody.

Patricia Bartik, of Mastic Beach, is raising her grandkids who are 4 and 8 years old. Both of the children's mothers struggled with drug addiction, and Bartik's son works full time. She's says she hopes the legislation will pass for her sake, and the sake of other grandparents.

Gillibrand, a Democrat, is running a 2020 presidential campaign.

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