ACL 08-35: Eligibility For Iraqis/Afghans With Special Immigrant Visas And Information On Newly Arriving Iraqi Refugees (8/1/08)

Information on benefits for Iraqi and Afghans who worked as translators or interpreters and given Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), or admitted as refugees. A 2007 law allows Iraqis/Afghans with SIVs to get federally-funded refugee benefits and services, for a maximum of six months from the date of entry to the U.S.  (2007 and 2008, only, 500 visas/yr.) A 2008 law provides that Iraqis (not Afghanis) can get 8 months of aid (5 years of visas, at 5,000/yr.)  Benefits and employment services are the same as other refugee programs. Spouses and children also get the refugee benefits/services, as otherwise eligible.  So, RCA for singles, and CalWORKs for families, Food Stamps for both.  The letter includes a list of acceptable documentation.

California state law provides state-funded CalWORKs and CFAP/food stamps to PRUCOL immigrants. Iraqi/Afghan special immigrants are considered PRUCOL, and are eligible for state-only benefits after their respective federal eligibility periods (six or eight months) elapse.

Counties that “discover or become aware” that they denied CalWORKs or Food Stamps to any Iraqi and/or Afghan with a SIVs after December 26, 2007 and prior to the date of this letter must reconsider those denials, and issue retros, if otherwise eligible.  And just to spin your head, information on SIV immigrants who adjust their status (before or after getting the SIV) and how it impacts benefits – but don’t worry, there’s a handy chart to boot!

SIV immigrants are in addition to an estimated 1400-1500 refugees/asylees from these countries expected to resettle in California. They are eligible for benefits for the regular period of time. [Download]