EES POLICY 03-02-01

RE:  Food Assistance Non-Citizen Restoration


KEESM:  2143

FROM:           Dennis Priest


DATE:            February 25, 2003


Program(s):    Food Assistance

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-171), commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, restores food assistance eligibility to many legal immigrants who lost eligibility under the 1996 welfare reform legislation (PRWORA). The changes in the Farm Bill incrementally reinstate eligibility for three groups of non-citizens who meet the program's other requirements.

The first group, persons receiving disability, regardless of when they entered the country, was implemented October 1, 2002. The second group, restoring eligibility to certain legal immigrants who have been in the country for 5 years (or had qualified status for five years) is effective April 1, 2003. (The third group, restoring eligibility to children under the age of 18, regardless of date of entry into the country is effective October 1, 2003. This change will be included in the October 2003 manual revision.)

This Policy Memo implements the restoration of eligibility for the second group noted above until KEESM Revision 14 is issued to the field.

The primary group of non-citizens affected by this restoration are legal permanent residents who formerly could only qualify for food assistance when they had worked 40 qualifying quarters of coverage (or by being credited with such qualifying quarters) as defined under Title II of the Social Security Act. 40 qualifying quarters equates to approximately 10 years of work. For all practical purposes, therefore, effective April 1, 2003, immigrants who have lived in the country for a period of five years or longer as a lawful permanent resident are now eligible for food assistance. (As long as all other eligibility criteria are met.)

In addition to the affect on lawful permanent residents, this change also affects non-citizens who were formerly only eligible for 7 years after date of entry into the country as specified in KEESM 2143.1. Since these non-citizens are eligible effective April 1, 2003 after they have lived in the country for 5 years, the 7 year eligibility limit is moot. These groups of non-citizens are eligible when they enter the country and are eligible indefinitely, as long as other program requirements are met.

Other groups now eligible include persons paroled into the U.S. under Section 212(d)(5) of the INA and persons granted conditional entry under Section 203(a)(7) of the INA in effect before 4/1/80 also regain eligibility for food assistance April 1 after residing in the U.S. for five years. Those are specified in KEESM 2143.2, along with a clarification that persons with a Violence Against Women Act case are eligible for food assistance after residing in the country for five years. Manual sections modified to implement these changes are KEESM Sections 2143, 2143.1, 2143.2, and 2143.3.

Please note that the effective date of the immigrant restoration for food assistance is April 1, 2003. Attached to this Policy Memo are the following reference materials which will also be included in KEESM Revision No. 14. Final manual material will be available on-line around April 1.

• KEESM Section 2143 (pages 2-12 through 2-15) of the May manual material is attached for your information.

• Revised Appendix Item 1, Non-Citizen Qualification Chart.

• New Appendix Item 8A, Guidance on the Five-Year Residency Requirement


  1. Special Provisions for Applicants - The new policies described above are to be used on all applications for food assistance received or processed on or after March 1, 2003 for April benefits. Eligibility and benefit amount for March would be determined using the rules as they exist in March 2003. The new rules would be applied to appropriate household members for April 2003 benefits. Reviews processed in March for April shall also have eligibility and benefit amount for April determined using the new policies.

  2. Ongoing Cases - A printout of potentially eligible "DI" non-citizen household members will be provided to staff to determine if currently coded "DI" non-citizens are eligible for food assistance and need to be changed to "IN". All persons listed on the printout must be evaluated for possible FS eligibility based on the April 1 policy changes, and if determined eligible, added to the FS case no later than the benefit month of July 2003.

    Here is pertinent information about the printout:

  • The printout will contain all non-citizen household members coded DI with a citizenship code that is NOT "US" on SEPA. The majority of persons affected will have citizenship codes of "IA", but all others are being included in case of miscoding.

  • The printout will be sorted by Area and worker, with page breaks by unit and will list the case name and individual names of all affected persons on the case. Also included will be case number, ID number, relationship, sex, age, ethnicity code, citizenship code and next review due date. Listing the next review due date will allow staff to prioritize case actions to those cases who do not have a review due in April, May or June 2003.

  • The printout will be issued electronically to the Chiefs in mid March.

NOTE: A preliminary printout issued in February indicates that there are 2,048 individuals on 1,263 cases statewide that will need to be reviewed and processed for possible eligibility by the July benefit month.

  1. Notification to Households - Applications approved under the new policies shall result in the regular approval notices being sent. If some household members are still not eligible under the new provisions, this should be noted to the client in the "other" section of the notice. For ongoing cases, the food assistance change notice should be sent as appropriate with the following suggested wording added:

    "Federal laws have changed which allow certain immigrants who have lived legally in the U.S. for 5 years or longer to get food assistance. We have determined that the following persons in your household have lived legally in the U.S. for 5 years and can now get food assistance: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX."

    If some persons in the household are eligible and some are not, those that are not eligible under the new provisions should also be listed with an explanation of why they are not eligible. For example, the person has only resided legally in the country for 3 years.

  2. Quality Control - Since the State agency is implementing this policy timely, errors resulting from the misapplication of the five-year requirement will be excluded for a period of 120 days, or until the next review.


  1. Maria A. and her 3 children apply for food assistance. Maria and her 16 year old son Luis were admitted for permanent residence on July 15, 2001. Her other 2 children were born in the U.S. Maria has 5 qualifying quarters of coverage.

    Who is eligible? The 2 U.S. citizen children. Maria will be eligible July 15, 2006. (Luis will be
    eligible 10/1/03, when children under the age of 18 become eligible.) Maria and Luis are coded DI on SEPA. KEESM 2143.2

  2. Jose S. and his family just moved to Kansas. His family consists of himself, wife Elena and 4 children. They entered the country in 2000 and all became lawful permanent residents on January 21, 2003. Jose, while living in Mexico, worked across the boarder in Texas. He has 40 qualifying quarters of coverage.

    Who is eligible? Jose, his wife and children are eligible. Even though they have not lived in the U.S. legally for 5 years, Jose has 40 qualifying quarters of coverage which qualifies the family.
    KEESM 2143.2 (NOTE).

  3. Hoa L. and his wife and one child entered the U.S. as refugees (INA Section 207) on February 1, 2003.

    Who is eligible? Hoa and his family. The five year waiting period does not apply to refugees.
    KEESM 2143.1

  4. Rodrigo O. entered the U.S. illegally in 1997. He joined his wife and children that were already living legally in the U.S. (permanent residence was granted in January 1998.) Rodrigo was granted permanent resident status in August of 2002.

    Who is eligible? Rodrigo's wife and children are eligible since they have resided legally in the
    U.S. for five years. (1-98 to 1-2003). Rodrigo is not eligible until August 2007. He is coded DI on
    SEPA. KEESM 2143.2.


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