The Missouri Senate has given initial approval to legislation that would protect a parent’s Social Security benefits for children. The bill from Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder, R-Scott City, would ensure that children whose parents have died or are disabled will receive the benefit as they age out of the system.

“This is a bill for foster children that are already really being treated, just adding one more thing on top of them, by having their Social Security benefits withheld from them,” she said.

Under the legislation, money held for the child will not be used to pay for care or services, but benefits through the U.S. Retirement Board, Social Security, or through the VA, could be used to care for other unmet needs aside from typical responsibilities.

Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, takes issue with the bill due to several child-related amendments that were added, asserting that it could be unconstitutional.

“So, I’m just wanting to, again, just to express the caution for all those concerned here that we try to do what you’re attempting to do and try to keep that focus as narrow as possible with that original bill,” he said.

Rehder cites studies showing that providing financial support for tuition, housing, and other necessities significantly increases a child’s chances of success as they transition into adulthood. Currently, she said that money is absorbed by the state.

A similar version of the bill passed the House on Wednesday.

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