Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:42 PM
mfcorey1 (6,158 posts)
Just had a huge argument about government assistance to those who entered under the
Cuban Migration Act. There was a need to help the people get settled. What say you?
Major Federal Benefit Programs Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Under current law, asylees, refugees, and Cuban-Haitian entrants (as well as certain aliens whose deportation/removal is being withheld for humanitarian reasons and Vietnam-born Amerasians fathered by U.S. citizens) are among categories of aliens who may be eligible for SSI for seven years after entry/grant of such status.22 In order to receive SSI benefits, these qualified aliens must meet all the requirements for eligibility as native-born citizens. SSI eligibility requirements include meeting the definitions for age, disability, or blindness and falling below established income and resource thresholds.23 In 2008, individual SSI beneficiaries could have received up to the maximum federal benefit rate of $637 a month, and married couples received up to $956. Cuban entrants, like other qualified aliens, are ineligible after seven years unless naturalized or if in receipt of SSI benefits as of August 22, 1996.24 This SSI eligibility for Cuban entrants as well as refugees, asylees, and aliens in other specified humanitarian categories was extended to nine years (during FY2009 through FY2011) by P.L. 110-328. If qualified aliens are eligible for SSI, they are likely to be eligible for enrollment in their state’s Medicaid Program.25
￼￼Congressional Research Service 6
Cuban Migration to the United States: Policy and Trends
￼Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Cuban Entrants are treated as refugees, and thus those families with children under 18 may be eligible for time-limited cash assistance through a state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996 restricts receipt of federal TANF benefits to a 60-month lifetime limit. States may exempt up to 20% of the caseload from the time limit because of state-defined hardship, and states have the option to continue TANF benefits under special circumstances. Like other federal welfare programs, the TANF program is means-tested; however, unlike SSI, the TANF program is state-administered, and payment levels can vary widely by state.26 In 2008, the average monthly maximum benefit level for a family of three in the median state was $389, with a range from $923 in Alaska to $170 in Mississippi.27 Refugees and entrants participating in job training programs sponsored by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) are considered to be working toward self-sufficiency and may be exempt from certain state TANF program requirements. TANF beneficiaries may be eligible for their state’s Medicaid program; however, SSI beneficiaries are generally ineligible to receive TANF in addition to SSI.
Refugee Resettlement Assistance28
As noted above, Cuban entrants are eligible for the federal resettlement assistance program for refugees and entrants, which is partially funded through the ORR. In addition to providing a range of social services, primarily administered by states, the ORR provides funding to states for transitional cash and medical assistance through the Transition and Medical Services program.29 ORR resettlement assistance and services are designed to help refugees and entrants obtain self- sufficiency and social adjustment as quickly as possible. Refugees and entrants are expected to become self-sufficient within six months of arrival, and Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) and Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) are limited to eight months.30
Refugees and entrants who meet the income and resource eligibility requirements for SSI, TANF, or Medicaid, but are not otherwise eligible (e.g., single males or childless females and couples), may receive benefits under the ORR-funded RCA and RMA programs.31 Under Title V of the Refugee Education Assistance Act, participating states are fully reimbursed for cash and medical assistance to Cuban and Haitian entrants under the same conditions and to the same extent as such assistance and services for refugees under the refugee program.
Taken from the Cuban Migration Act
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