March 5, 2007

 

FOOD STAMP                                             CalWORKs

Special Notice                                            Special Notice

       07-03                                                            07-03

 

CASH ASSISTANCE PROGRAM               RCA

FOR IMMIGRANTS (CAPI)                           Special Notice                                                    Special Notice                                                   07-01                                                                                                           07-01

 

Subject

ELIGIBILITY FOR AID AND SERVICES FOR NON-CITIZEN VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND OTHER SERIOUS CRIMES

 

Effective

Upon Receipt

 

Reference

All County Letter (ACL) No. 06-60;

ACL No. 01-58, 02-28, 04-38 and 05-08; and

All County Information Notice (ACIN) I-24-02

 

Purpose

The purpose of this joint Special Notice (SN) is to provide staff with information and instructions necessary to implement Senate Bill (SB) 1569, which extends eligibility for certain services and benefits to non-citizen victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and other serious crimes. 

 

Background

The federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 created two new non-immigrant visas;

 

1.      “T” Visa, for victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons and 

2.      “U” Visa, for victims of criminal activity as defined in federal statute, to allow these individuals to remain in the United States (U.S.).   

 

 

 

 

 

T Visa for Trafficking Victims

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Federal law defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” to mean:

·  Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or

·  The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

 

Trafficking victims apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a T Visa by submitting a Form I-914, “Application for T Nonimmigrant Status”.

 

Once the adult trafficking victim has been certified by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), he or she is eligible for federal benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. For minor trafficking victims, the ORR issues an eligibility letter, which makes the minors eligible for federal benefits and services.

 

 

U Visa for Victims of Serious Crimes

Federal law defines non-citizen victims of serious crimes as aliens who:

·  Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been victims of criminal activity involving, or similar to, the following violations: rape; torture; trafficking; incest; domestic violence; sexual assault; abusive sexual contact; prostitution; sexual

exploitation; female genital mutilation; being held hostage; peonage; involuntary servitude; slave trade; kidnapping; abduction; unlawful criminal restraint; false imprisonment; blackmail; extortion; manslaughter; murder; felonious assault; witness tampering; obstruction of justice; perjury or attempt; conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes; and,

·  Possess information concerning criminal activity (or in the case of an alien child under the age of 16, the parent, guardian, or adult representing the child); and

·  Have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful to a federal, state, or local law enforcement official, prosecutor, or judge or to other federal, state, or local authorities investigating or prosecuting criminal activities described above (or in the case of an alien child under the age of 16, the parent, guardian, or adult representative of the alien is helpful). 

 Continued on next page

 

 

U Visa for Victims of Serious Crimes

(Cont.)

The Department of Homeland Security has not yet published regulations governing U Visas, so it is not possible to apply for one. However, USCIS may grant temporary legal status, called “U Visa Interim Relief”, and work authorization to those who are eligible, which means the non-citizen may remain in the U.S. and may be permitted to work. While there is no official application form for requesting U Visa Interim Relief, each request should contain certain documentation. Unlike certified trafficking victims, non-citizens allowed to remain in the U.S. under U Visa Interim Relief are not eligible for most federal benefits and services.

 

 

Implementation of SB 1569 – New State-Only Program

SB 1569;

 

·  Was enacted to provide state-only assistance to trafficking and serious crime victims prior to federal ORR certification of their application for a T or U Visa. 

 

·   Provides eligible, non-citizen trafficking victims and victims of serious crimes state-funded benefits and social services equivalent to those available to refugees, including:

·  Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA),

·  California Food Assistance Program (CFAP),

·  CalWORKs,

·  CAPI,

·  IHSS, and

·  Employment Social Services. 

 

Note: Additionally, these individuals are potentially eligible for medical services such as Refugee Medical Assistance, Medi-Cal, and the Healthy Families Program, administered by the California Department of Health Services (CDHS).  Separate program material will be issued for Medi-Cal pending instructions from CDHS.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trafficking Victims
(T-Visa) -Eligibility for Services and Benefits under SB 1569

Under SB 1569, to determine eligibility for victims of a severe form of trafficking;

1. The HSS must first determine if the applicant meets the                     

     definition of a victim, based on all relevant information.

 

A sworn statement by a victim (or a representative if the victim is not able to competently make a sworn statement) is sufficient if at least one item of additional evidence is provided, including, but not limited to:

Police, government agency, or court records or files

a)     News articles

b)     Documentation from a social services, trafficking, or domestic violence program, or a legal, clinical, medical, or other professional from whom the applicant or recipient has sought assistance in dealing with the crime

c)      A statement from any other individual with knowledge of the circumstances that provided the basis for the claim

d)     Physical evidence

e)     A copy of a completed visa application

f)        Written notice from the (USCIS) of receipt of the T Visa application

 

2.  After the HSS determines, based on one of the items above, that

      the applicant meets the definition of a trafficking victim, the HSS

      must then determine if the applicant:

a)     Has filed an application for a T Visa with USCIS; or

b)  Is preparing to file an application for a T Visa; or

c)      Is otherwise taking steps to meet the eligibility conditions for federal benefits. 

 

The following documentation can be used in determining whether an

applicant has filed, or is preparing to file, for a T Visa:

·  A confirmation receipt or letter from USCIS verifying an application for a T Visa has been filed; or

·  A copy of the application for a T Visa (I-914); or

·  Statements from persons in official capacities (e.g., law enforcement officials or victim advocates) who have assisted or are assisting the victim with the T Visa application; or

·  If no documentation is available, the applicant’s statement that s/he has filed or intends to apply for a T Visa, or is taking steps to become federally eligible (e.g., is working with a community-based agency to prepare to qualify for federal benefits), is acceptable. 

 

 

 

 

Trafficking Victims (T-Visa) – Termination of Eligibility for State-Funded Services

In order to track and assure adherence to time limited eligibility timelines for the state-only program staff shall;

·  Flag each case by attaching a goldenrod sheet to the outside case file cover,

·  Include on the goldenrod sheet;

·  “State-Only SB1569” and

·  Program eligibility review date.

·  Record the program type and eligibility review date in CalWIN “Case Comments”.

 

Eligibility for state-funded services will be terminated if:

·  The recipient’s application for a T visa has been finally administratively denied; or

·  The recipient has not applied for a T Visa within one year of applying for state benefits; or

·  A request by law enforcement officers on behalf of the recipient for federal continued presence status has not been made within one year; or

·  The recipient is certified by ORR, resulting in federal eligibility.  If certified, the case shall be switched from state-only to federal effective the date of certification, without a break in service, and federal program rules shall apply;  a new eight-month period commences under federal RCA. 

 

Note: State-only RCA is time-limited to no more than eight months from date of application. 

 

Trafficking Victim (T-Visa) Eligibility Determination Process

See Flow Chart on following page (pg 6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                               

 

 

 

Domestic Violence and Other Serious Crimes Victims (U-Visa) -
Eligibility for Services and Benefits under SB 1569

SB 1569 provides state-funded services for non-citizen victims of domestic violence or other serious crime, if otherwise eligible, only when;

 

·  A request with USCIS for U Visa Interim or a U Visa (once U Visa applications become available) has been filed; or

·   If U Visa Interim Relief or a U Visa has been granted.

 

In determining potential eligibility for these applicants, the HSS must verify that a request for a U Visa Interim Relief or application for a U Visa has been filed.  Examples of documentation could include (but are not limited to):

 

·  Statements from persons in official capacities (e.g., law enforcement officials or victim advocates) who have assisted or are assisting the victim with the application for the U Visa Interim Relief; or

·  A copy of the request for a U Visa Interim Relief application  (as there is no standard request form, each “application” will look slightly different); or

·  A Notice of Action approving U Visa Interim Relief (form I-797); or

·  A form I-797 which serves as a fee receipt for an employment authorization request based on a U Visa Interim Relief application; or

·  A confirmation receipt or letter from USCIS verifying that a request for U Visa Interim Relief (or a U Visa) has been filed. 

 

Note: Eligibility for state-funded services will continue until and unless the recipient’s request for U Visa Interim Relief or application for a U Visa has been finally administratively denied.  Specific program time limits also apply. 

 

Domestic Violence and Other Serious Crimes Victims

(U-Visa) -

Eligibility Determination Process Flow Chart

See Flow Chart on following page (pg 8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SB 1569 Program Specific Guidelines

Once an individual’s eligibility under SB 1569 is established, all County policies, guidelines, and instructions will be used in determining eligibility for benefits and programs to the same extent as refugees, and, generally, program rules will apply (e.g., beginning date of aid, grant computation, etc.).  Applicant households that are not eligible to CalWORKs may be eligible to RCA as a non-citizen, victim eligibility program for adults without children.    

 

Notes:

·  Until the state assigns specific state-only aid codes and CalWIN has been modified to accept these aid codes, it will be necessary to enter the following values (see “CalWIN Entries for RCA & CalWORKs”)  in CalWIN in order to produce the desired Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) and State Funded aid codes. 

·  RCA eligible cases are to be centralized with the Kearny Family Resource Center (FRC) Refugee Unit. 

·  Other State Funded Victim Cases are to remain in the receiving regions.  

 

 

 

CalWIN Entries for RCA

RCA:

·  On the Display Non-Citizen Summary, Collect Non-Citizen Detail window, [Status] field, select "Refugee".  

·  RCA eligible applicants will pass with a 01 aid type.

·  Recipients are eligible for benefits equal to RCA.

 

Note: HHS staff shall also complete the Domestic Abuse Summary, Collect Domestic Abuse Detail window for each impacted individual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CalWIN Entries for State-Only CalWORKs

CalWORKs:

·  On the Collect Individual Demographics window, Identification Detail tab, enter “applied for SSN” (see BENDS for CR3577, “PRUCOL Aliens with No SSN”).

Note: If workers fail to complete these fields, CalWIN will FAIL for no SSN.  

·  On the Display Non-Citizen Summary, Collect Non-Citizen Detail window, [Status] field, select "Lawfully Admtd-Perm Res LPR", select "INS Document" for the “Verification” [Source] and select;

·   "I-94" for T Visa,

·  " I-797" for U Visa or

·  "Other" in the “Non-Citizen Document” [Type] field. 

 

CalWORKs eligible applicants will pass with state aid type;

·  3L for one parent families

·  3M for two parent families

·  3E for mixed families

 

Note: HHS staff shall also complete the Domestic Abuse   Summary, Collect Domestic Abuse Detail window for each impacted individual.

 

HSS Case Tracking Information

Until specific aid codes are made available for this state-only program and CalWIN is updated, workers must flag both RCA and State-Only CalWORKs cases and send the case information (include the SN Title in the Email Subject Line) to SPOS: Kristina.pinto@sdcounty.ca.gov for centralized tracking.  Case information shall include the Case Number and Client Name. 

 

A list of these cases will be compiled centrally by SPOS and forwarded to fiscal for claiming once claiming instructions have been issued. 

 

RCA / Social Services

Non-citizens determined eligible under the provisions of SB 1569, if otherwise eligible, will receive state-funded benefits and services equivalent to RCA.  The determination of time eligibility for RCA is currently limited to eight months.  The time eligibility period for state-only RCA will also be eight months.  If a recipient of state-only RCA becomes federally eligible (ORR certified), another eight-month eligibility period will commence (federally funded), effective the date of ORR certification. RCA is limited to eight months following the refugee’s date of entry in the U.S. The eligibility period for state-only RCA will be eight months from the date of application for public social services. 

 

 

CalWORKs

Non-citizens determined eligible under the provisions of SB 1569 will, if otherwise eligible;

·  Receive state-funded CalWORKs benefits and services and

·  Be subject to all other program requirements and exemptions,

Including;

·  Welfare to Work participation,

·  Reporting,

·  Time limits, etc.

 

CAPI

Non-citizens determined eligible under the provisions of SB 1569 will, if all other eligibility criteria are met, be eligible for benefits under CAPI. Other CAPI eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to;

·  Being aged,

·  Blind or

·  Disabled (under the federal definition of blindness and disability used for the Supplemental Security Income Program) and

·  Meeting income and resource limits.

 

IHSS

Non-citizens determined eligible under the provisions of SB 1569 will, if all other eligibility criteria are met, be eligible for benefits under the IHSS programs.  The programs include the;

·  Personal Care Services Program (PCSP),

·  IHSS Plus Waiver (IPW) Program and

·  IHSS Residual Program (provides assistance to those eligible aged, blind, and disabled individuals who are unable to remain safely in their own homes without this assistance).

 

California Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

Non-citizens ineligible for federal food stamp (FS) benefits solely based on their non-citizen status but pending certification or preparing to file an application to either the Trafficking Victims (T-Visa) or Victims of Serious Crimes (U-Visa) will be eligible to state-funded benefits, CFAP, under provisions of SB 1569. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medi-Cal Impact

These individuals are potentially eligible for medical services such as Refugee Medical Assistance, Medi-Cal, and the Healthy Families Program, administered by the California Department of Health Services (CDHS).  Separate program material will be issued for Medi-Cal pending instructions from CDHS.  

 

Automation Impact

Specific field entries are required (see Program Specific Guidelines & CalWIN Entries section of this SN) in order for CalWIN to determine eligibility correctly for this specific population.  Additionally, the effected population may not possess social security numbers (SSN).  CalWIN does not allow for the entry of pseudo social security numbers.  Refer to the BENDS for CR3577, “PRUCOL Aliens With No SSN”, on the CalWIN intranet for automation instructions for individuals who do not have a SSN.

 

Employment Services Impact

As effected individuals are awaiting action on their visa applications (or have not applied yet), they may not be authorized to work.  Under these circumstances, certain employment services would not be appropriate (e.g., job search). 

 

However, appropriate employment services referrals must be made as there are employment preparation activities which may be appropriate in anticipation of visa approval (e.g., vocational English language training or other employment preparation related activities). 

 

Child Care Impact

Affected individuals are eligible to Child Care (state funded) if they are participating in an approved activity and are referred by the Employment Case Manager.  Further information regarding aid types and automated entries into NOHO will be sent out to Child Care staff.

 

Client Correspondence Impact

Until specific Notices of Action (NOA) are developed for this population, the current granting and denial NOAs with explanation of the action are to be used. 

 

Quality Assurance

Impact

QA will cite the appropriate error if the regulations of this Special Notice have not been applied. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assistant Deputy Director

 

 

 

JAYE YOSHONIS

CalWORKs Program

Strategic Planning and Operational Support

 

 

 

DANN CRAWFORD

Food Stamp, Medi-Cal and General Relief Programs

Strategic Planning and Operational Support