1240-01-47-.10 - ELIGIBLE ALIENS

1240-01-47-.10. ELIGIBLE ALIENS

(1) General Requirements. In addition to US Citizens, certain aliens who are otherwise eligible are eligible to receive Families First benefits. The alien status of each individual in the AG listed on the application as an alien is to be determined prior to certification/approval. INS documents presented or secured by the applicant/recipient shall be the primary source of verification of alien status. The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system must be used to validate the alien's documents and status.

(2) Description Of Eligible Aliens.

(a) Citizens and eligible aliens. The Department shall prohibit participation in the program by any person who is not a resident of the United States and one of the following:

1. A United States citizen; or

2. An alien that, under federal laws and regulations, is permitted to receive Families First benefits funded by federal TANF dollars. These eligible aliens may include, but are not necessarily limited to, certain individuals lawfully present in the United States as a result of the application of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

(3) Aliens who apply for Families First for the first time must have the income and resources of their sponsor considered in determining their eligibility for assistance. The income and resources of the sponsor shall be considered for a period of three years after the alien's entry into the United States. A sponsor is a person who signed an affidavit or other statement accepted by INS as an agreement to support an alien as a condition of the alien's admission for permanent residence in the United States. The alien is responsible for obtaining the cooperation of his/her sponsor and for providing the information necessary to determine the alien's eligibility. This will include material provided in support of the alien's immigration application. Failure to obtain the sponsor's cooperation or to supply the information will result in denial/closure of the application/case. Aliens who are exempted from this provision are aliens who were: paroled into the United States as refugee; granted political asylum by the Attorney General; admitted as Cuban or Haitian entrants; admitted under Section 203(a)(7) of the Immigration and Nationality Act prior to April 1, 1980; admitted under Section 207(c) of the Act after March 31, 1980; alien children of sponsors or of sponsor's spouse; or recipients of AFDC prior to October 1, 1981 or a former AFDC or Families First recipient who reapplies in the future. Any alien under the sponsorship of a public or private agency/organization is not eligible to receive Families First within three years of entry into the Country unless it is proven (and documented) that the agency is unable to meet their sponsorship obligations to the alien. (This may mean that the agency is no longer in existence.) The alien is required to submit documentary evidence as is available to facilitate this determination. Exception: An alien granted permanent resident status through the legalization process is ineligible for a five year period beginning with the date on which she/he was granted temporary resident status.

(a) Establishing Income and Resource Amounts. The following steps are necessary in establishing the amount of income and resources which shall be deemed from the sponsor to the alien, whether or not these are actually available to the alien.

1. Income

(i) Determine the gross earned and unearned income of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse (the latter's income will be considered even if the marriage occurred after the affidavit of support was executed). If the sponsor and/or spouse receive Families First or SSI, no income is to be considered available to the alien.

(ii) Deduct from the gross earned income (wages, salaries or net earnings from self employment) 20% of the total of such amounts or $175.00, whichever is less.

(iii) Deduct the standard of need for the number of individuals living with the sponsor who are claimed by the sponsor and/or the sponsor's spouse as dependents for federal personal income tax liability.

(iv) Deduct the amount the sponsor and/or his/her spouse pays to individuals outside the home who are claimed as dependents for federal income tax purposes.

(v) Deduct any amount paid by the sponsor and/or his/her spouse for child support or alimony to individuals living outside the home.

(vi) The remaining income shall be considered as unearned income to the alien and shall be added to the alien's own income in determining eligibility for assistance.

(vii) Follow Families First budgeting procedures beginning with the Gross Income Standard test.

2. Resources. The provision of considering the income and resources of the sponsor as available to the alien is not waived even though the sponsor may have revoked his/her sponsorship agreement. In those situations where the sponsor has absconded and his/her whereabouts is unknown, the alien(s) would not be eligible for assistance for the period of time for which the sponsor is liable for support, as need could not be established. Income and resources which are deemed to a sponsored alien shall not be considered available to unsponsored members of the alien's family except to the extent the income and resources are actually available. Unsponsored members are not ineligible simply because a sponsored member fails to provide information regarding his/her sponsor. The following are steps to be taken in determining the amount of resources to be deemed from the sponsor to the alien:

(i) Determine the amount of countable resources of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse as though the sponsor was applying for Families First.

(ii) Deduct $1500.00 from the total countable resources.

(iii) The balance of the resources shall be considered available to the alien and added to the alien's own countable resources in determining eligibility.

(b) Multiple Sponsorship. When it is determined that an individual has agreed to sponsor multiple families, the amount to be deemed to the eligible families shall be divided equally among the families who are applying for assistance. If only one family applies for Families First, then the total amount of the sponsor's liability (income and resources) shall be applied to the family so applying.

(c) Liability for overpayments. Both the sponsor of the alien and the alien shall be jointly and severally liable for any overpayment made to such alien during the three year period following the alien's entry into the United States, if such overpayment was due to the sponsor's failure to provide correct information except where it can be established that the sponsor was without fault or where good cause for failure to provide such information can be established. The same procedure for handling overpayments shall be applicable to aliens as for any other Families First recipient.

(d) Establishing Good Cause. Good cause for failure of the sponsor to provide correct information to the Department includes the following:

1. The Department fails to request information regarding the sponsor's income and resources.

2. The sponsor has had no direct contact with the Department concerning his/her income and resources and he/she is unaware of the information provided by the sponsored alien.

3. Social and/or language barriers preclude the sponsor's understanding and ability to provide the correct information.

4. Other unusual circumstances exist which indicate the failure to provide correct information is beyond the sponsor's control.

(Original rule filed December 2, 1996; effective February 15, 1997. Amendment filed December 19, 2003; effective March 3, 2004.)

Authority: T.C.A. §§ 4-5-201 et seq., 71-1-105, 71-3-154, 71-3-158, Public Acts of 1996, Chapter 950, 42 USCA § 1315(a), and 45 CFR 233.50 and 233.51.

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