The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 - Removal of Expiration Dates from Certification Letters for Adults and Eligibility Letters for Children
State Letter #02-01
TO: STATE REFUGEE COORDINATORS
NATIONAL VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES
FROM: Nguyen Van Hanh, Ph.D., Director
Office of Refugee Resettlement
SUBJECT: The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 - Removal of Expiration Dates from Certification Letters for Adults and Eligibility Letters for Children
This State Letter modifies information in State Letter #01-13, which provided initial guidance on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). The TVPA makes adult victims of a severe form of trafficking who have been certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) eligible for certain benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. Victims of a severe form of trafficking who are under 18 years of age are also eligible for certain benefits to the same extent as refugees but do not need to be certified. As discussed in State Letter #01-13, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) makes certification determinations and issues certification letters for adults who meet the certification requirements. In addition, ORR issues similar eligibility letters for children who have been found to be victims of a severe form of trafficking. The initial certification letters for adults and eligibility letters for children contained eight-month expiration dates. However, as of November 6, 2001, certification letters for adults and eligibility letters for children no longer contain expiration dates.
An individual who is certified on or after November 6, 2001 will receive a certification letter without an expiration date. A sample of the new certification letters without expiration dates is attached. Individuals who were certified before November 6, 2001 received certification letters with eight-month expiration dates. As these letters begin to expire, ORR will issue re-certification letters without expiration dates. The re-certification letters will contain a lowercase "r" beside the HHS tracking number. A sample of a re-certification letter is attached.
Although certain victims of a severe form of trafficking will be receiving re-certification letters, their "entry date" for refugee benefits purposes will not change. Their re-certification letters will contain the same certification date (i.e., "entry date") as the original certification letter. In other words, the re-certification letter does not grant victims of a severe form of trafficking an additional eligibility period for any benefits and services. It is simply a re-issuance of the original letter without an expiration date confirming that the individual continues to meet the certification requirements. Standard eligibility and/or re-determination periods under the various benefit programs will continue to apply to these individuals in the same manner as they apply to refugees. If an individual presents an expired certification letter when applying for benefits or an agency attempts to do a benefits program re-determination and finds that a certification letter has expired, call the ORR trafficking verification line at (202) 401-5510 for assistance.
ORR anticipates that the re-issuance of expiring certification letters will run smoothly. However, ORR is aware that some victims of a severe form of trafficking may have moved since they received their first certification letter. To aid ORR in the re-certification process, benefit-granting agencies are encouraged to call the ORR trafficking verification line at (202) 401-5510 if they are aware of any address changes for victims of a severe form of trafficking.
State Letter #01-13
Please refer to State Letter #01-13 for background information on the trafficking of human beings into the United States, the requirements for certification, the documents that victims of a severe form of trafficking will present and the procedures agencies should follow in confirming eligibility for benefits. With the exception of the removal of expiration dates from the certification letters, all of the other information in State Letter #01-13 remains accurate. For a copy of State Letter #01-13, access the ORR website.