• Helm Immigration

Federal Programs You as An Immigrant Are Eligible For

There are two different immigrants when it comes to federal programs, qualified and non-qualified. The qualified immigrants when it comes to eligibility of federal programs in general are lawful permanent residents, refugees, people granted asylum or withholding of deportation/removal, and conditional entrants, people granted parole by DHS for a period of at least one year, Cuban and Haitian entrants, certain abused immigrants, their children, and or their parents, certain survivors of trafficking and individuals residing in the US pursuant to a Compact of Free Association.

However, the law does not restrict access to public health programs that provides immunizations and treatment of communicable disease symptoms. Also, school breakfast and lunch programs remain open to all children no matter their immigration status. Additional every state has opted to provide access to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Also, short term noncash emergency disaster assistance remains available without regard to immigration status.

This is not all, in 2001 The US Attorney general published final order the types of benefits that meet a certain criterion. This list does include child and adult protective services, certain programs addressing weather emergencies and homelessness (shelters, soup kitchens, and meals on wheels); medical, public health and metal health services necessary to protect life and safety, disability, or substance abuse services necessary to protect life and programs to protect the life or safety of workers, children, and youths.

Eligibility for Major Federal Benefit Programs

TANF, Medicaid, and CHIP

To be able to qualify for TANT, Medicaid, and CHIP they must have served a five yar bar or you entered US before August 22, 1996. However, Refugees, people granted asylum or withholding of deportation/removal, Cuban/Haitian entrants, certain Amerasian immigrants, Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrants and survivors of trafficking are exempt from the five bars. Also qualified immigrants who are veterans or active-duty military and their spouses and children and children who receive federal foster care and COFA migrants are also exempt. However, several states or counties provide health coverage to children or pregnant persons regardless of their immigration status. The Affordable Care Act provides a new pathway for lawfully present immigrants to obtain health insurance.


The SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (used to know as the Food Stamp Program). There are also six states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, and Washington) provide state funded nutrition assistance to some/all immigrants who were rendered ineligible for the SNAP program.


One of the harshest restrictions for immigrant seniors and or with disabilities is the Supplemental Security Income program. Qualified immigrants who entered before August 22, 1996, are individual who qualify as disabled and were lawfully resident in the US by on August 22, 1996, lawful permanent resident with credit for 40 quarts of work, were granted refugee or asylum status or withholding of deportation/removal, Cuban/Haitian entrant, or Amerasian immigrant but only during the first seen years after status was granted, veteran, active-duty military and certain American Indians born abroad. For qualified immigrants who enter after August 22, 1996, it is; lawful permanent resident with credit for 40 quarters of work; granted asylum or refugee status or withholding deportation/removal, Cuban/Haitian entrant, Amerasian, Victim of trafficking or Iraqi or Afghan special immigrant status but only during the first seven years after status granted; veteran, active-duty military, spouse, unremarried surviving sous, or child, creatin American Indians born abroad.

However, there are five states, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, and New Hampshire, that provide cash assistance to certain immigrant seniors and people with disabilities who were rendered ineligible for SSI; some others provide much smaller general assistance grants to these immigrants.

To learn more about the immigrant eligibility for federal programs and to figure out if you qualify click the link below to a helpful table provided by the National Immigration Law Center.

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