Legal Fact Sheets

The NYS Kinship Navigator houses over fifty cited legal fact sheets on topics ranging from Financial Assistance to Legal Advocacy.

Caregivers can access these fact sheets to assist them in applying for benefits through DSS, at family court, enrolling a child into school, and many other topics.
Our fact sheets are organized by topic and are easily downloadable.

The New York State Kinship Navigator website is intended to educate kinship caregivers, professionals, advocates and the general public. The website provides legal fact sheets, other information related to kinship issues, and educational materials for general informational purposes only. None of these materials should be construed as legal advice on any subject matter, nor are they intended to substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney in your jurisdiction. These materials may not reflect the most current legal developments or address facts specific to your situation. Kinship Navigator disclaims all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content on this website. The operation of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and New York State Kinship Navigator.

This site may contain links to other web sites. Kinship Navigator is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such web sites.

NYS Kinship Navigator is a Catholic Family Center program, funded by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. Catholic Family Center is the only agency authorized by New York State to provide a statewide information, referral, and education service to kinship caregivers. Any opinions, legal opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication or on the NYS Kinship Navigator website or by any person or entity to whom you may be referred are those of the Kinship Navigator, Catholic Family Center and/or the person or entity you are referred to and do not necessarily represent the official views, opinions, legal opinions or policy of the State of New York and/or the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).

General Information:

Social Security Information (main line): 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY)

Website: https://www.ssa.gov/

Local Social Security Office Search Engine (by zip code): https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp

Steps to Apply:

  1. Contact The Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) and they will schedule an interview with your local Social Security Administration office to determine eligibility for survivor benefits
    1. Will need to provide the deceased parent(s) social security number and proof of death
  2. Once eligibility is determined, form SSA 1696 must be filled out by the caregiver to make them the representative payee.
    1. SSA 1696: “Claimant’s Appointment of a Representative” form: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1696.pdf