42- 400 J.   Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements



Table of Contents




Declaration of Citizenship or Non-Citizen Status

Informing Notification

Primary SAVE Verification

USCIS SAVE Responses

Secondary SAVE Verification

Secondary SAVE for Refugees



The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 mandates that the immigration status of each non-citizen applicant/recipient must be verified with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a condition of eligibility for CalWORKs and CalWORKs-linked Refugees.  USCIS has designated Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) as the system to be used to verify each non-citizen’s immigration status.




The SAVE Program is an inter-governmental initiative designed to aid benefit-granting agencies in determining an applicant's immigration status, and thereby ensure that only entitled applicants receive federal, state, or local public benefits and licenses. The Program is an information sharing service consisting of an automated (primary) and a manual (secondary) verification system.


Declaration of Citizenship or Non-Citizen Status

·         IRCA requires each CalWORKs and CalWORKs-linked Refugee applicant or recipient to declare in writing whether he/she is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or a non-citizen in a satisfactory immigration status (SIS).  SIS means an immigration status, which does not make the person ineligible for benefits under the applicable program.  The declaration must be made under the penalty of perjury.


The declaration of citizen/non-citizen status is required as follows:


o   At the time of application

o   At re-application and restoration when there is a break in aid of more than 30 days

o   Anytime a non-citizen status change is reported.


·         The Statement of Facts, SAWS 2, meets the requirements for a declaration of citizen/non-citizen status when:


o   Each adult applicant/recipient signs under penalty of perjury that the individual is a U.S. citizen/national or non-citizen, and

o   The SAWS 2 is documented on pp. 1 and 2, for each individual, by checking the SAVE box, and

o   The worker verbally informs the non-citizen applicant/recipient of the requirements under IRCA.



Informing Notification

All applicants and recipients must be notified at application and at renewal that:


·   The immigration status of each non-citizen member of the assistance unit will be verified with USCIS; and


·   Such verification will require the disclosure of certain case information to USCIS; and


·   Information received from USCIS may affect eligibility or benefit level.



SAVE Verification

Under the primary system, CalWIN will send a non-citizen’s “A” number to the USCIS database from the entry made in the “Send Forced Add/Suppress Transactions to MEDS” window in CalWIN. The system will respond with information on the non-citizen’s immigration status on a SAVE abstract.  The response shall be compared to the information provided by the non-citizen. If there is any doubt regarding the true identity or immigration status of the person, a secondary verification shall be initiated.



USCIS SAVE Responses

There are five possible responses from USCIS: 


·     Legal Permanent Resident – employment authorized.

·     Cuban/Haitian Entrant – temporary employment authorized.

·     Section 245A Temporary Resident – temporary employment

   authorized or Permanent Resident

·     Section 210 Temporary Resident – temporary employment

   authorized or Permanent Resident

·     Institute Secondary Verification.


NOTE: IRCA Non-citizens (Non-Citizens obtaining status under USCIS Sections 210, 210A and 245 A) are ineligible for Federal CalWORKs for five years from date of temporary residency status. The five years disqualification is maintained even after the non-citizen has been adjusted to permanent resident status.



Secondary SAVE Verification

Secondary verification requires the manual completion of Form G-845, Document Verification Request and Form G-845 Supplement and readable photocopies of the non-citizen’s documentation are to be sent to:

U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services

300 North Los Angeles Street, B120

Los Angeles, California 90012


Attn: Immigration Status Verification Unit


Secondary verification is to be sent when the document the non-citizen has does not have an “A” number but does note an immigration status or when primary verification indicates to institute secondary verification.  Follow the links for Instructions for Form G-845 and Instructions for Form G-845 Supplement.


When USCIS responds that the non-citizen does not have eligible non-citizen status or that additional information is needed, the client will be given ten calendar days to respond. If the non-citizen does not respond within ten calendar days, a denial or discontinuance action is to be taken with timely notice requirements for the individual whose status remains unverified by USCIS.


If the non-citizen has an unsatisfactory secondary verification or does not respond when notified, and has been receiving CalWORKs, an overpayment must be processed. 



Secondary SAVE for Refugees

Since refugees usually apply for assistance shortly after they enter the country, it is unlikely that their immigration status will be on the SAVE system database.  Therefore, most primary requests for refugees will indicate “Institute Secondary Verification.”

A federal waiver was granted to allow a delay in the processing of secondary SAVE verification for refugees who are applying for CalWORKs, Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA), CalFresh and Medi-Cal benefits for up to 12 months, unless their refugee documentation is questionable or appears fraudulent.  For those refugees where SAVE secondary verification was indicated but was not undertaken at the time of application, the worker will:

·         Set up a reminder to institute a primary SAVE process in 12 months

·         Resubmit the “A” number through CalWIN no later than 12 months from the month of certification

·         Institute a secondary verification if the primary SAVE response indicates to do so.