Section 421 - Federal Attribution of Sponsors Income and Resources
to Noncitizen and Section 423 - Requirements for Sponsors Affidavit
Q. To which noncitizens does deeming apply?
A. Deeming applies to all noncitizens sponsored by individuals. Very
few sponsored noncitizens will be eligible for food stamps. Refugees,
asylees, and deportees do not need to be sponsored. Deeming does not apply
to noncitizens sponsored by groups. Deeming ends when a noncitizen has
40 quarters. Therefore, deeming will apply for food stamp purposes only
to those who qualify under the military service provision.
Q. Are battered noncitizens exempt from the deeming provisions?
A. If the battered noncitizen lives in the same household as the batterer,
there is no exemption. If the battered noncitizen is not living in the
same household, battered noncitizens and noncitizens whose child or parent
has been battered may be exempt from the deeming provisions for a 12-month
period provided that there is a substantial connection between the need
for food stamps and the battery.
Q. For situations involving a sponsors income, if 3 years have
passed and the new affidavit has not been signed, is the sponsors
income still counted?
A. For noncitizens whose sponsors signed the old affidavit, deeming ends
after 3 years. Current sponsors will not be required to sign a new affidavit.
State agencies should follow the requirements of 7 CFR 273.11(j) for these
Q. When will the new legally binding affidavits of support be used?
A. The new affidavits of support will be required for applications for
immigrant visas or for adjustments to permanent resident status filed
on or after December 19, 1997. The deeming and other sponsored noncitizen
provisions contained in the PRWORA must be used for these noncitizens.
Q. Does Section 421 of the PRWORA (deeming of a sponsors income)
replace or make obsolete all of section 5(i) of the Food Stamp Act?
A. The provisions in section 5(i) apply to sponsored noncitizens whose
sponsor signed the old affidavit of support. The new deeming provisions
apply to immigrants whose sponsors have signed the new affidavit of support
form. Therefore, with two or three possible exceptions, section 5(i) will
be obsolete for noncitizens signing the new affidavit of support. The
provisions that we are considering carrying over to the new provisions
are the ones that provide that the spouse of the sponsor must be living
with the sponsor before his or her income and resources are deemed, the
requirement for the noncitizen to provide information, and the provision
that deeming would not apply if the sponsor is included in the same food
stamp household as the sponsored noncitizen. We will either address these
three issues in the regulations or allow State flexibility in these areas.
In the meantime, State agencies should not deem the income or resources
of the spouse of the sponsor unless the spouse is living with the sponsor.
What if a sponsor or the required documents cannot be located?
A. State agencies should follow the requirements of 7 CFR 273.11(j)(7)
of the regulations for action to be taken pending receipt of information
needed to determine the income and resources of the sponsor and the sponsors
spouse. The noncitizen is ineligible until all necessary facts are obtained,
and the eligibility of any remaining household members is determined by
considering the income and resources of the ineligible noncitizen, excluding
the deemed income and resources of the noncitizens sponsor and sponsors
spouse. The Department of Justice is developing a computer database that
will contain the names of the sponsored noncitizens and the names and
addresses of their sponsors. The data will be made accessible to State
Q. If a sponsor is receiving public assistance or SSI, should the
assistance be counted as available to the sponsored noncitizen?
Q. Is there a time limit during which sponsored indigent noncitizens
can be exempted from the full deeming provisions?
A. Yes. If the State agency determines that a sponsored noncitizen
would, in the absence of the assistance provided by the agency, be unable
to obtain food and shelter, taking into account the noncitizens
own income, plus any cash, food, housing, or other assistance provided
by other individuals, including the sponsor, the amount deemed shall be
the amount actually provided for a period beginning on the date of such
determination and ending 12 months after such date. The State agency must
notify the Attorney General of each such determination, including the
names of the sponsor and the sponsored noncitizen involved.
Q. Do the States have to prepare any reports on sponsored aliens?
A. Yes. State agencies have to report identifying information and the
number of months aliens have received benefits for those aliens that they
have determined to be indigent, and they have to report on any court orders
against sponsors for repayment of food stamps benefits issued to sponsored
aliens. The time frame for reporting this information has not yet been
Q. Section 423(e) of the welfare reform law provides that upon notification
that a sponsored alien has received any benefit under any means-tested
public benefit program, the appropriate agency shall request reimbursement
by the sponsor in the amount of such assistance. Does the Food Stamp Program
qualify as a means-tested public benefit program for purposes of this
Q. Instead of certifying sponsored aliens and then trying to collect
from the sponsor, can the State agency just determine that the aliens
are not eligible to begin with?
A. No. If sponsored aliens meet the qualified criteria and the specific
food stamp criteria, they must be certified and the State agency must
then request repayment from the sponsors.
Q. How should requests for reimbursement be handled?
A. We will either address this in regulations or allow States flexibility
in this area. In the meantime, they should be handled as household-caused
error claims, but the sponsor should be billed. States should be able
to get the address of the sponsor from an INS computer system.
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