December 23, 2008

Food Stamp Program Guide Letter #537

 

Subject

ELIGIBILITY FOR AFGHANS/IRAQIS WHO HAVE BEEN ISSUED SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISAS (SIVs) AND INFORMATION ON NEWLY ARRIVING IRAQI REFUGEES

 

Effective Date

Upon receipt

              

References

All County Letter No. 08-35

 

Purpose

The purpose of this letter is to inform staff of the:

 

·        Eligibility to the Food Stamp Program for Afghans/Iraqis with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs);

·        Different Federal eligibility periods for these individuals with special immigration, refer to revised FSPG 154.2 and 154.3

·        SIV Visa codes that have been added to the on-line USCIS Class of Admissions Codes Table located in the FSPG section 63-154.5;

·        Requirement to evaluate for potential FS eligibility for these two groups of individuals that were possibly denied after 12/26/07; and

·        Requirement to change the funding from federal to state benefits.

 

Background

Two new recently passed public laws (PL 110-161 and PL 110-181) allow benefits and services for Afghan and Iraqi SIV holders to the same extent as refugees.

 

These new groups of immigrants were displaced from Afghanistan and Iraq and are being admitted to the U.S. as SIVs because they were employed by or assisted the U.S. Armed Forces with translation and interpreter services.

 

These laws limit the period of federal eligibility of SIV holders to a maximum of:

 

·       Six months from the date of entry to the U.S. (no earlier than December 26, 2007) for the Afghans.  Eligibility was effective  until the end of the September 30, 2008; and 

·       Eight months from the date of entry to the U.S (no earlier than December 26, 2007) for the Iraqis.  Eligibility is in effect through September 30, 2012.

 

CFAP benefits can be received after their federal eligibility ends.

 

 

Determining Food Stamp Eligibility

Date of Entry: For Afghan or Iraqi Immigrants who acquire special immigrant status while in the U.S., the date of eligibility begins on the date of the grant of special immigrant status.

Examples: Afghans/Iraqis may enter the U.S as Legal Permanent Resident with SIVs or as asylee or parolee.

 

·  If an Afghan/Iraqi entered as an asylee, s/he is a qualified noncitizen and is immediately eligible under current program rules.  Even If the asylee adjusts to special immigrant status, the six or eight month limit would not apply since they are already federally eligible or are receiving federal FS benefits indefinitely.

 

·  If an Afghan/Iraqi entered the U.S., with a SIV or adjusted to that status before Dec. 26, 2007, s/he may not be eligible for the six or eight month periods.  They may be eligible for less.  Refer to the tables below for more detail.

 

·  If the Afghan/Iraqi is a parolee for one year, s/he is not federally eligible until s/he has resided in the U.S. for five years.  However, if the parolee adjusts to special immigrant status during that time, the six or eight month federal time limit would apply from the date of adjustment.

  

Verification: Afghan and Iraqi noncitizens who claim special immigrant status must provide verification that they have been admitted under Section 101(a) (27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to be determined federally eligible for food stamp benefits. 

 

There are two types of proper documentation for the principal SIV applicant (Afghan or Iraqi); these types of documentation also apply to the principal SIV applicant’s spouse and their unmarried children (under 21 years of age):

 

1.      Afghan/Iraqi passport or I-94 with an Immigrant Visa (IV) stamp noting that the individual has been admitted under 101 (a)(27) in any one of the following categories and a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stamp or notation on passport or I-94 showing date of entry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IV Categories

 

Status

 

SI1 or SQ1

 

Principal SIV applicant

 

SI2 or SQ2

 

Spouse of the principal SIV applicant

 

SI3 or SQ3

 

Unmarried child, under the age of 21, of the principal SIV applicant

 

SI6 or SQ6

 

Principal SIV applicant adjusting status in the U.S.

 

SI7 or SQ7

 

Spouse of the principal SIV applicant adjusting

status in the U.S.

 

SI9 or SQ9

 

Unmarried child, under the age of 21, of the

principal applicant adjusting status in the U.S.

 

2.      DHS Form I-551 (“green card”) with an IV code of SI6 or SQ6, SI7 or SQ7, or SI9 or SQ9 which confirms both the status and the day of entry into the U.S. for the principal SIV.

 

Determining Federal Eligibility Periods for Afghan/Iraqi SIVs:

These special groups of immigrants are eligible for State-only

Benefits (CFAP) after their respective federal eligibility periods (six or eight months) end, if they continue to meet all other eligibility criteria.

 

The tables below show how to establish federal eligibility periods for Afghan/Iraqi special immigrants:

 

 

AFGHAN SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISA

6 MONTHS ELIGIBILITY OR LESS:

 

If Date of Entry is

 

6  months from  Date of Entry would be

 

and if date of the Food Stamp application is

 

Then change

Federal FS to CFAP funding

at the end of

 

10/11/07

 

03/31/08

 

 

01/08/08

 

03/31/08

 

(Eligible for 3 months of FED funding from 01/08/thru 03/31/08) 

 

12/12/07

 

 

05/31/08

 

02/26/08

 

05/31/08

 

(Eligible for 4months of FED funding from 02/26/08 thru 05/31/08)

 

09/30/08

 

 

02/28/09

 

10/16/08

 

02/28/09

 

(Eligible for 5 months of FED funding from 10/16/08 thru 02/28/09)

 

 

 

 

 

IRAQI SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISA

 8 MONTHS ELIGIBILITY OR LESS

 

Granted Special

Immigrant Status

 

8  Month

Eligibility End Date

 

Date of the Food Stamp application is

 

Then change

Federal FS to CFAP funding

at the end of

 

 

09/10/07

 

 

04/30/08

 

 

12/17/07

 

04/30/08

 

(Eligible for 5 months of FED FS funding from 12/26/07/thru 04/30/08. HH is ineligible prior to the effective date of the law 12/26/07) 

 

 

01/26/08

 

 

08/31/08

 

 

03/31/08

 

08/31/08

 

(Eligible for 6 months of FED FS funding from 03/31/08 thru 08/31/08)

 

 

08/01/08

 

 

03/31/09

 

 

08/15/08

 

03/31/09

 

(Eligible for 8 months of FED FS funding from 08/15/08 thru 03/31/09)

 

Worker     Actions

 

 

At Intake Level

If

Then

 

Applicant is an Afghan/Iraqi SIV holder with qualified status still under 6 or 8 months   

 

·         Set up Case Special Indicators   and Individual Special Indicators. Refer to How To 323 “Enter Special Indicators” for guidance.

·         Set up the “Individual Special Indicator” end date to 5th or 7th month so that it would show up on the report.

·         Set up case alert for the end of the Federal qualification period

·         Refer to How To #324 on how to set and change funding from Federal to CFAP

·         Enter Case Comments

 

If

Then

 

Applicant is an Afghan /Iraqi SIV holder with qualified status Over 6 or 8 months

 

 

·         Set up the status as Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Refer to How To #324

·         Enter Case Comments

 

 

 

 

 As soon as administratively possible, the worker will:

 

 

At Granted Level

1

Review the list of Afghan/Iraqi cases to identify SIV code of entry

2

If SIV holder status is under 6 or 8 months then

·         Set up case and individual Special Indicators (How To #323)

·         Set up case alert for the end of the Federal qualification period

(Refer to How To #322)

·         Set up the status as Refugee (Refer to How To# 324)

·         Enter Case Comments

 

Note:  The date that applicant obtained the actual or adjusted SIV status is most of the time the entry date

 

3

If SIV holder status is over 6 or 8 months then  

·         Set up the status as Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Refer to How To #324

·         Enter Case Comments

 

 

Note: The worker is to evaluate for possible food stamp eligibility, if s/he discovers or becomes aware of any Afghan/Iraqi SIV individual who was denied food stamp benefits after December 26, 2007 and prior to the issuance of this letter.

 

The following “How Tos” have been created for staff use:

 

v     How To #322 “Create and Send a Case Level Alert”

v     How To #323 “Enter Special Indicators for Afghan/Iraqi SIV Holders” Refugees Admitted Under Section 101(a)(27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)

v     How To #324 “Update Special Immigrant Visas Status (SIV)”

To Change Funding From Federal to State

 

 

 

 

Automation Impact

In order to help identify cases that will need to be re-evaluated at the end of the six or eight month federal eligibility period, two new Special Indicators have been added to CalWIN.  The new Special Indicators are as follows:

 

  • Afghan – Afghan-SIV
  • Iraqi – Iraqi-SIV

 

The appropriate Special Indicator must be set at case level with the effective begin date as the current date. The end date will be entered only after worker has taken the action to change the case to CFAP.

 

By workers completing the Special Indicators, SPOS will be able to provide a monthly list of cases that require a change in funding status.

 

A new monthly management report will be created and sent to FRC staff starting the first week of January 2009. This report will contain the following information:

 

  • Case number;
  • Affected Participants
  • Program;
  • Special characteristic code/description; and

·        Worker number

 

NOTE: When updating the effective begin date of special indicator or entering a new special indicator, EDBC will be triggered to run in batch for the effective begin date for ongoing cases but will not be triggered to run for intake cases.

 

To stop another program (CW and MC) from authorizing in batch, select the special indicator for a batch exception for that particular program, e.g., "Batch AU Exception-MC" for Medi-Cal or Batch AU Exception-CalWORKs" for CalWORKs.

 

 

 

FSPG       Changes

 

 

Section

 

Title

 

Description

63-154.2

Qualified Noncitizens

Added information on Afghan/Iraqi SIV holders.

63-154.3

Conditions of Eligibility for Qualified Noncitizens

Added definition of section 101 (a)(27) to the note box.

63-154.5

and

63-117.8

Noncitizens Failing to Qualify for Federal Food Stamps Noncitizen Status

Added Visa (SIV) codes to the USCIS Class of Admissions codes table.

 

 

 

 

Quality Control/Quality Assurance
 Impact

The hold harmless period for the Quality Control variance ended

August 28, 2008.  Quality Assurance will cite the appropriate error when the requirements in this material have not been followed.

 

 

 

 

Assistant Deputy Director

Original signed December 23, 2008

 

 

 

JAYE YOSHONIS

Assistant Deputy Director

Self-Sufficiency Programs

Strategic Planning & Operational Support

 

MB*