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Advocate Tip:  PAL Benefits

PAL Benefits

PAL (Preparation for Adult Living) benefits are available for youth ages 18 and older who are aging out of the foster care system. All youth should be referred to the PAL program by their CPS caseworker when they turn 16. Once the referral has been made the youth will be assigned to a PAL worker who will coordinate with the youth and their CPS caseworker to ensure that the youth completes the PAL training necessary to access their PAL benefits.

Who is eligible?

Foster care youth are eligible for PAL benefits when they turn 18. In order to qualify for PAL benefits, youth cannot have been living with or placed with a parent or adoptive parent at the time they turn 18. Youth must also complete PAL training classes in order to qualify for all of the PAL benefits available to them. Advocates should contact the youth’s CPS caseworker or PAL worker to determine if a youth is on track to receive all of the benefits available to them at the time they age out of care.

What are the benefits?

Eligible youth are able to receive a variety of PAL benefits designed to assist them in the transition from foster care to independent living. Some of the PAL benefits available to youth include:

Transitional Living Allowance: This benefit provides eligible youth up to age 21 with a maximum benefit of $1000 to cover the start-up costs of independent adult living.

Aftercare Room and Board Assistance: This benefit provides youth with a source of emergency funding for rent, food or utilities. In order to obtain this benefit, youth must be listed on the bill or lease for which they are requesting emergency assistance. Youth must also be actively working or in school in order to obtain this emergency assistance.

Tuition and Fee Waiver: This benefit provides a lifetime waiver for the tuition and fees at a state-funded college or university for eligible youth who have aged out of the foster care system. The youth must enroll as an undergraduate prior to their 25th birthday in order to receive this benefit.

Additional benefits are available to youth who are aging out of foster care. Advocates should contact the youth’s PAL worker to obtain specific information regarding the youth’s eligible PAL benefits.

  1. At what age should a youth be referred for the PAL program?
  2. True or False? Youth are not required to complete any training in order to receive their PAL benefits.
  3. Who should advocates contact for information regarding a youth’s PAL status?

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Elisabeth Reise at