SNAP: Citizenship and Alien Status FAQS

The following are FAQS concerning Citizenship and Alien Status:

A quarter creditable after Dec. 31, 1996 cannot be counted if the noncitizen or the noncitizen’s spouse or parent received any federal means-tested public benefit during the quarter. What programs qualify as Federal means-tested public benefits?
The USDA currently defines means-tested programs to include: TANF, Medicaid, SSI and SNAP.
Does an alien who is a U.S. veteran or on active U.S. military duty have to be a legal permanent resident?
No, but they must be a qualified alien.
Are the alien spouse and step children of a U.S. citizen who is a veteran or individual on active duty eligible under section 402 (a)(2)(C)?
If they are qualified aliens they would be eligible.
Does Supplemental Security Income (SSI) categorical eligibility mean that an SSI recipient does not have to meet the alien eligibility requirements?
No. However, SSI recipients have already been determined qualified aliens by the Social Security Administration.
Are there any special provisions for legal alien migrants under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA)?
No. Migrants who are not citizens must meet the same alien eligibility requirements as other aliens.
Are aliens entitled to expedited services without verification of their status?
Yes. The eligibility of an alien must be determined prior to certification, but benefits shall not be delayed beyond 7 days solely because factors other than identity have not been verified.
Can the State agency certify an alien who has a letter from INS saying that he has met all the requirements for naturalization except the swearing-in ceremony?
No. To be eligible as a citizen, the alien must have completed all of the requirements for citizenship and have verification of citizen status.
Can a child be credited with quarters worked by a parent before the child was born or adopted?
Are quarters earned by a parent before a child enters the U.S. counted in determining the eligibility of the child?
Can an alien be credited with the quarters of Social Security coverage earned by a spouse during a period of separation?
Yes. Section 435 of PRWORA provides that an alien shall be credited with all of the qualifying quarters worked by a spouse of the alien during their marriage and the alien remains married to the spouse or the spouse is deceased. Therefore, as long as the couple is still legally married the quarters can be credited to the spouse.
If a child has no parents in the U.S. can the child qualify based on the quarters of the adult who is assuming parental responsibility for the child? If yes, does the responsibility have to be certified by legal documents or is the caretaker’s statement sufficient?
Only quarters earned by a natural, adoptive or step-parent can be credited to a child.
Would the quarters of a spouse be credited to an alien if it is a common law marriage or if the couple is not married?
Quarters shall be credited in the case of a common law marriage or if the couple is holding themselves out to the community as husband and wife.
Can quarters of coverage earned by minor children be credited to their parents?
No. Quarters can be credited only for the work of a spouse or parent. Each spouse can claim the quarters of the other spouse and children can claim the quarters worked by their parents.
What if an alien worked in the U.S. legally but lived in another country during the time the work was performed?
If the alien worked legally in work covered by social security and paid social security taxes, the quarters worked would count. It is not necessary for the alien to reside in the U.S. during the period the work occurred.
An alien was certified based on quarters earned by a spouse. Subsequently, the couple divorce. Is the alien now ineligible? Would the alien be considered ineligible at the next recertification or if he or she reapplied after a break in participation?
The alien loses the quarters of the ex-spouse when they become divorced. If the alien is currently participating, the state agency may wait until the next recertification to re-determine the alien’s eligibility.
Do we always prorate expenses such as shelter, child care and child support being paid for a HH when there is an ineligible alien adult not included in benefits or does it depend if the expenses are billed to the alien or if they are paying or responsible for expenses?
You would only prorate if the ineligible alien is billed for or is paying or is responsible for paying the expenses. Otherwise, you would allow the entire expense.
When applying the new policy about alien status and the 5 years residence, do they still have to have 40 quarters to qualify?
If the immigrant has been residing in the United States as a qualified alien for at least 5 years, they are eligible. If they have not been in qualified status for at least 5 years from the date of entry, then they must meet one of the other eligibility criteria such as the 40 quarters requirement.
Client is a U.S. citizen. She gave birth to her child in Mexico. She did not register the birth with the U.S. embassy. The only birth certificate is a Mexican birth certificate. According to policy 340:50-5-67 instructions to staff #3, states the child would be a U.S. citizen. Is this child a U.S. citizen?
A child born to a U.S. citizen is considered a citizen and no other verification is required. The citizenship of the parent should be verified, if questionable.
We have a client who was a temporary resident alien with a date of entry of 05-03-97 and he changed to legal permanent resident alien status on 02-18-99. What date do we use to determine if he has lived in the U.S. as a qualified alien for five years?
We need to look at the date the client became a Legal permanent resident (holder of a green card). A temporary alien is not one of the qualified categories of aliens.
We have a client who is a U.S. citizen and is married to a Legal Permanent Resident Alien (holder of a green card). They have been married for less than 10 years and she has been here less than 5 years. The husband has worked more than 10 years and has 40 quarters of employment. Can these quarters be deemed to the wife even though they were not married for 10 years?
Only the quarters earned during the marriage may be deemed.
Can a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) Alien who has been here for 5 years get food stamps without meeting the 40 quarters or any other extra criteria?
In the instructions to staff, 340:50-5-67, qualified aliens are defined under number 5 and then if they meet that status they must meet one of the criteria under number 6 to be eligible. #5 states a qualified alien is defined as an individual who at the time he or she applies for or receives Food stamps is: lawfully admitted for legal permanent residence (LPR) in the US under Section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1988. Your client meets these criteria as a qualified alien. To be eligible, a qualified alien must meet at least one of the criteria listed in (1) through (8) of this Instruction to Staff (ITS) and is not limited in participation unless otherwise stated. The qualified alien: (6) has resided in the US as a qualified alien for five years since date of entry; your client meets this criteria so they are eligible. Unless your client is eligible under #7 of the ITS, in order to receive food stamps they must be both qualified (#5) and eligible (#6).
Are persons from the Marshall Islands automatically eligible for food stamps?
They must meet the qualified and eligible alien criteria to be eligible.
Are PS-4s, Declaration of Citizenship Status, required when a new household member is reported on the FSP-38 change form?
A signed PS-4 is required for all cases where a household is reporting a new member either on the FSP-38 or by any other means.
We have a client who has applied for food stamps in our county. During our interview, client presented SS# for herself and her boyfriend (father of one of her children) stating they are citizens of Micronesia. In doing research on policy, I did not find a reference to Micronesia. We continued to do research and someone in the office found information stating that since 1986, the Federated States of Micronesia are associated with the United States under the compact of free association. The governments of those areas have agreed to allow the US to provide defense, funding grants and access to US social services for citizens of these areas. Client presented a passport stating she is a citizen of Micronesia. My question is, do we code the case as her being a US citizen and she and her boyfriend are eligible to be included in the FS benefit as citizens of the FSM and the U.S.?
Under the Compact of Free Association, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) citizens may freely enter the US, its territories, and its possessions. However, FSM citizens are not eligible for US federal welfare protection and benefits.

Citizens of the FSM, which includes the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau, are no longer United States nationals. They have established their own government, and as of 1994, the US is no longer helping to govern them. They must now follow the same immigration guidelines as any other non-citizen and are ineligible when they do not meet these guidelines.

They may apply for admission to the US and receive an I-94, Arrival and Department Record, or they may enter without a visa. To qualify for SNAP, they must meet the criteria in ITS 3 of 340:50-5-67.

For more information, review the “Fact Sheet”.

 Status of Citizens of the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands  linked here from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services concerning the Federated States of Micronesia.

We know to prorate the income for an ineligible household member such as an ineligible alien, but what about resources? Are these also prorated?
No. The resources of a disqualified member or ineligible alien are considered in its entirety for determining eligibility of the remaining household members.
A family has applied for SNAP benefits and two of the children are Haitian orphans that were admitted under humanitarian parole on Feb. 20, 2010 due to the earthquake in Haiti. Can these children be included in the SNAP benefits?
Yes. Haitian orphans permitted to enter the U.S. under humanitarian parole meet the definition of a Cuban/Haitian Entrant and are eligible to receive SNAP benefits with no waiting period, if the household meets eligibility criteria. These children will possess an INS Form I-94 indicating they were paroled into the U.S. on or after Jan. 12, 2010.
If a qualified alien is in an exempt category (e.g., asylee or refugee) and later adjusts to LPR status, does the qualified alien have to meet the five-year requirement?
No. Asylees, refugees, Amerasians, Cuban/Haitian entrants, trafficking victims and aliens whose deportation or removal was being withheld are eligible for SNAP benefits during the first seven years they are admitted or granted status in one of these exempt categories regardless of later adjustment. An example of this is an immigrant who was initially granted asylum in January 2001 and then adjusted to LPR status in January 2002. Even though this immigrant has not been in a qualified alien status for five years on April 1, 2003 when the new law is effective, the qualified alien is eligible during the first seven years as an asylee. In addition, qualified aliens who are in one of the exempt categories for five years have automatically met the five-year requirement.
Is the Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP) benefits received by residents of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands considered as income when determining eligibility for SNAP benefits?
No. The NAP benefits from these U.S. territories are not to be considered even when issued in the same month a household submits a new application when determining eligibility and benefits.
Does Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status make a person eligible for SNAP?
No, DACA status does not grant a person a qualified and eligible status. It prevents deportation, but to receive SNAP, a person must possess one of the citizen and alien statuses outlined in policy.
Are Afghan special immigrant visa (SIV) holders eligible for SNAP?
Yes, these visa holders are refugees under Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act according to the SNAP rules. They meet the alienage requirements as soon as they receive special immigrant status and may qualify for SNAP if they meet the other requirements.
Does Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status make a person eligible for SNAP?
No, DACA status does not grant a person a qualified and eligible status. It prevents deportation, but to receive SNAP, a person must possess one of the citizen and alien statuses outlined in policy.
Are Afghan special immigrant visa (SIV) holders eligible for SNAP?
Yes, these visa holders are refugees under Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act according to the SNAP rules. They meet the alienage requirements as soon as they receive special immigrant status and may qualify for SNAP if they meet the other requirements.
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