Foster children who are entitled to Social Security payments can now finally get those benefits.

For years, the Department of Children and Families diverted most of that money to the state’s general fund. The state of Massachusetts quietly changed its policy on Jan. 1.

Now children receiving federal disability or survivor benefits will get their due. Missing out on millions, no more.

As 7News first uncovered back in 2019, the Department of Children and Families was taking 90 percent of children’s Social Security benefits to reimburse the commonwealth’s general fund for their care.

That’s even though Massachusetts law requires the state to pay for the care of foster kids and does not require kids to pay the state back.

DCF could do this, because they were listed as the children’s legal guardians.

Attorney Daniel Hatcher said the original policy that took the money hurt kids who needed it most.

“Their sole reason for existing is to serve and protect abused and neglected children is instead using those children as a source of revenue to go after their money and take it from them. And in my mind it’s theft,” Hatcher said.

How much did the state take from these foster kids? As much as 5.5 million dollars per year, according to a report from the Disability Law Center.

The money will now go directly to children who have suffered so much.

“We know how important it can be for children and youth to be able to save for their future and the department of children and families,” a DCF spokesperson told 7News. “[DCF] is grateful for support from advocates and the legislature that has enabled Massachusetts to be among the first states that are early adopters to this practice that allows for all Social Security benefits to be conserved for children and youth.”

DCF also said most of the money will be deposited into a special savings account that belongs to the individual children, and some of the funds will go toward each child’s “personal needs allowance.”

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox