Walsh Urges Approval of Bill to Extend Financial Support for Adult Dependents with Disabilities

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C-Ballston) is calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign legislation (A.868-B/S.4467-B) which would enable families with adult dependent children under the age of 26 to seek child support when the adult child’s developmental disabilities necessitate a living allowance. The bill passed unanimously in the Assembly and Senate at the end of the 2021 Legislative Session. The bill is carried by Assemblymembers Walsh and Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) in the Assembly and Sen. John W. Mannion (D-Geddes) in the Senate.

Currently, 40 states have provisions allowing custodial parents to pursue child support after age 21 for adult children with disabilities, including neighboring states New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. States differ as to whether support for an adult disabled child is determined by the state's child support guidelines or by the needs of the child as balanced by the parent’s ability to provide support.

“It’s an unfortunate reality that divorce is common in many households, including those with a child who is intellectually and/or developmentally disabled, and this can make providing the best possible support and services for these individuals increasingly challenging,” said Walsh. “This legislation recognizes that just because a child or adult child dependent reaches an age of majority, their day-to-day needs do not end. This legislation aims to extend the responsibility for both parents in order to ensure these needs continue to be met—with no additional cost to the state.”

This bill would provide continued support, like current child support provisions, for certain individuals with developmental disabilities. The allowance would be determined at the discretion of the court, where such an individual has a diagnosis of a developmental disability as defined in the Mental Hygiene Law. The support would continue for adult dependents who cannot support him/herself at the state’s “age of majority” to the age of 26.

“With the assistance of my colleague Assemblymember Woerner and the support of 49 bipartisan sponsors, this legislation passed unanimously for the third consecutive year in the Assembly. I am grateful for Sen. Mannion’s work that helped it to finally get passed in the Senate, and now it’s time to get it to the governor’s desk and signed into law. There are, no doubt, many differently-abled New Yorkers and their families who could benefit from this common-sense proposal, which is why I am requesting the governor’s help as soon as possible,” Walsh concluded.