My younger sister gave birth to a baby girl many years ago, which unfortunately resulted to her untimely death. I ended up taking care of my niece who was healthy during her younger years. However, she has developed a physical disability, which rendered her incapable of walking even until now that she is already 20 years old. My niece was left under my care because my parents have separated early in their marriage.
I just want to know if I can avail myself of the benefits given to solo parents even if I am not actually a parent and the person under my care is already an adult. To be quite honest about our situation, I am having difficulties in providing for her needs, especially her therapy.
Dear Ms. Art,
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8972 is also known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000. However, it does not mean that the provisions of the said law are only exclusively applicable to parents. Aside from parents who were left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood, Section 3 (a) of R.A. No. 8972 defines the term “solo parent” as: “x x x (9) Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children; (10) Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent.”
Furthermore, the privileges afforded by R.A. No. 8972 are not only for the promotion of the welfare of minor children. The term “children” is explicitly defined under the law as “those living with and dependent upon the solo parent for support, who are unmarried, unemployed and not more than eighteen (18) years of age, or even over eighteen (18) years but are incapable of self-support because of mental and/or physical defect/disability” (Section 3 (b), id).
Taking these into consideration, we believe that you may be entitled to the benefits and privileges granted under the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 notwithstanding the fact that your niece is already 20 years old, provided that her physical defect or disability has rendered her incapable not only of walking but of self-support. Moreover, the provisions of the said law may apply to you even if you are not in fact a parent, provided that your niece is actually living with you and is solely dependent upon you for parental care and support.
Should you be able to establish these factors, you may avail yourself of the parental leave and a flexible work schedule as long as the same do not affect your individual productivity and that of the company (Sections 8 and 6, id). You may also avail yourself of the educational benefits being given by the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), as well as allocations in low cost housing projects and medical assistance, if so qualified (Sections 10 and 11, id).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
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