Guidance on the Interpretation of Federal Public Benefit
TO : All IV-D Directors and Regional Program Managers
RE : Guidance on the Interpretation of Federal Public Benefit
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), P.L. 104-193, restricts access to Federal public benefits to qualified aliens. The statute defines a qualified alien as (1) an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act (the "Act"); (2) an alien granted asylum under section 208 of the Act; (3) a refugee admitted to the United States under section 207 of the Act; (4) an alien paroled into the United States under section 212(d)(5) of the Act for a period of at least one year; (5) an alien whose deportation is being withheld under section 243(h) of the Act as in effect prior to April 1, 1997, or whose removal is being withheld under section 241(b)(3) of the Act; (6) an alien granted conditional entry under section 203(a)(7) of the Act as in effect prior to April 1, 1980; (7) an alien who is a Cuban or Haitian entrant as defined in section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980; or (8) an alien who (or whose child or parent) has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the United States and otherwise satisfies the requirements of 8 U.S.C. 1641(c).
In an August 4, 1998, Federal Register notice, HHS has identified 31 programs that provide Federal public benefits (see attached notice).
The Child Support Enforcement Program has been determined not to provide Federal public benefits as defined in title IV of PRWORA and therefore is not required to implement new verification requirements promulgated by the Department of Justice which were published in the Federal Register on August 4, 1998. Noncitizens, regardless of their alien status, should not be banned from the Child Support Enforcement Program based solely on their alien status unless such exclusion is already authorized by another statute.
David Gray Ross
Office of Child Support Enforcement