Understanding the AFDC/TANF Child-Only Caseload: Policies, Composition, and Characteristics in Three States. Eligibility of Aliens

02/01/2000

Exhibit 2.2 outlines the states' policy regarding the eligibility of aliens in each state.

All three states deny benefits to non-qualified aliens who were ineligible under the AFDC program. As discussed in Chapter 1, states cannot use federal funds for payments to qualified aliens who entered the country after August 1996 for the first five years they are in the United States. Nevertheless, California and Missouri have opted to continue providing benefits to this group, using state funds, while Florida is not providing benefits to this group. All three states have opted to provide benefits to qualified aliens who entered before August 1996.

In all three states, the status of aliens who apply for TANF assistance as qualified aliens is verified with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Generally, non-qualified applicants admit to being non-qualified when they apply for their children who are U.S. citizens; in this situation, the case is not reported to INS, since false information has not been presented. The application asks about income and resources, although eligibility workers interviewed assumed that some income is not reported. Since this employment is "off the books," it goes undetected. The income that is reported is counted in the cash assistance benefit calculation.

 

Exhibit 2.2
Eligibility of Aliens in Three States
  California Florida Missouri
Non-qualified Aliens Non-qualified aliens who were previously eligible under the AFDC program are eligible for state-funded benefits. Otherwise, they are not eligible for assistance and their U.S. citizen children are eligible (case is child-only). Are not eligible for assistance. U.S. citizen children of non-qualified aliens are eligible (case is child-only). Are not eligible for assistance. U.S. citizen children of non-qualified aliens are eligible (case is child-only).
Qualified Aliens Entering the Country Prior to August 1996 Are eligible for TANF benefits. Are eligible for TANF benefits. Are eligible for TANF benefits.
Qualified Aliens Entering the Country After August 1996 Are eligible for state-funded TANF benefits. After five years in the country, they are eligible for federal TANF benefits. Are eligible for state-funded TANF benefits. After five years in the country, they are eligible for federal TANF benefits. Are not eligible for TANF benefits for five years after entering the country. U.S. citizen children are eligible (case is child-only).