Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Noncitizen Eligibility for Public Benefits

The CRO uses another euphemsim "unauthorized aliens"

Another fascinating report from the Congressional Research Office (LPR = Legal Permanent Resident):

Issue Brief for Congress
Noncitizen Eligibility for Public Benefits

Prior to 1996, LPRs were eligible for federal public assistance under terms comparable to citizens, and states were not permitted to restrict access to federal programs on the basis of immigration status. The 1996 welfare reform law (P.L. 104-193) instituted a 5-year bar for most newly entering LPRs and generally allowed the states to bar noncitizens from Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), with exceptions for LPRs with 10 years of work history and for certain humanitarian cases, such as refugees and asylees. As the result of perceived abuses and budgetary concerns, it also barred most legal aliens (again excepting LPRs with 10 years of work history and certain humanitarian cases) from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and food stamps.

As the 107th Congress considers legislation to reauthorize federal public benefit programs, the crux of the noncitizen eligibility issue is what classes of LPRs should be eligible for assistance and what types of assistance should be available to them. Several significant legislative proposals expanding noncitizen eligibility for TANF, SSI, and Medicaid/State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) are before Congress.

Noncitizen eligibility also was a key issue in the comprehensive legislation reauthorizing Agriculture Department programs (H.R. 2646, known as the “farm bill”), because the bill includes changes to the Food Stamp program. (See CRS Electronic Briefing Book, Welfare Reform, page on “Noncitizens,” available at []; and CRS Report RL31114, Noncitizen Eligibility for Major Federal Public Assistance Programs: Policies and Legislation.)

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