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February 13, 2018 > Benefit parity for sponsored indigent noncitizens

Benefit parity for sponsored indigent noncitizens

Submitted By Tomasa Due¤as

Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) has introduced a bill to create parity in benefits available to legal immigrants through California Work Opportunity and Responsibility for Kids (CalWORKS) and CalFresh.

Existing law provides for various public social services programs including CalWORKs, which provides cash assistance and other benefits to qualified low-income families and individuals, and CalFresh, which helps with access to food at markets and stores.

?Most legal immigrants in the United States are eligible for CalWORKs and CalFresh, provided they meet financial and categorical eligibility requirements,? explained Assemblymember Quirk.

Generally, when a sponsored noncitizen applies for public benefits, the welfare agency certifying their benefit eligibility treats both the income and resources of their sponsor as available to them?a process known as ?sponsor deeming.? In cases where a sponsor is unable to support them, the welfare agency may issue an indigence exemption.

In California, if a determination is made by the county that a sponsored noncitizen would go hungry and homeless without aid, the sponsored noncitizen is determined to be indigent. Indigence determinations are valid for 12 months from the date the indigence determinations are made.

AB 2111 will allow for CalWORKS benefits to be extended to indigent sponsored non-citizens beyond 12 months.

?Alameda County stands for the protection of all its residents regardless of citizenship status. It is very important to our community that all individuals have the basic necessities of food and shelter. Alameda County is honored to work closely with Assemblymember Quirk and sponsor AB 2111,? said Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Keith Carson who is the Chair of the Committee on Personnel, Administration and Legislation Policy for the Board.

?Indigence determinations under CalFresh are renewed annually without restriction. However, CalWORKs has no provision for renewal. In fact, an indigence exception to sponsor may only be granted once in a noncitizen?s lifetime. My bill removes an unnecessary barrier to ensure that no child or adult faces the possibility of going hungry or homeless,? said Assemblymember Quirk.

AB 2111 will be eligible to be heard in policy committee in March.

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