TN 4 (12-94)
SI 01320.900 Aliens Subject to Sponsor-to-Alien Income Deeming
Social Security Act, sections 1614(f)(3) and 1621;
20 CFR 416.1160(a)(3) and (d); 416.1166a
SI 01320.900--Cross-refer to SI 00502.200.
Aliens who seek admission to the United States must establish that they will not become “public charges.” Many aliens establish that they will not become public charges by having “sponsors” who pledge to support them. Since October 1980, the law has required that a sponsor's income and resources (and those of the sponsor's living-with spouse) be considered when determining an alien's SSI eligibility and payment amount.
Sponsor-to-alien deeming may apply regardless of whether the alien and sponsor live in the same household. Also, sponsor-to-alien deeming may apply regardless of whether or not the sponsor actually provides the alien with any support.
NOTE: References throughout this section to “sponsor” also include the sponsor's spouse who lives in the same household with the sponsor.
B. Policy — general
1. Aliens Subject to Sponsor Deeming
A sponsored alien lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence is subject to sponsor-to-alien deeming unless an exclusion in SI 01320.910 applies.
Sponsor-to-alien deeming applies to aliens who have lawful permanent resident status whether that status was granted at the time of entry into the U.S. or adjusted after entry.
EXAMPLE: An individual with a student visa allowing temporary U.S. residence asks the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to change his /her status to permanent resident status. DHS approves the adjustment to permanent residence. If the individual has a sponsor, sponsor-to-alien deeming, if applicable, begins with the month the individual's status was adjusted to that of permanent resident.
IMPORTANT: An alien who is excluded by statute from sponsor-to-alien deeming see SI 01320.910B.) and whose status is adjusted to that of a permanent resident retains the statutory exclusion from sponsor deeming. For example, a change from refugee status to permanent resident status does not cause an alien to lose his/her exemption from sponsor deeming.
2. “Sponsor” for Deeming Purposes
A sponsor is an individual who signs an “affidavit of support” agreeing to support an alien as a condition of the alien's admission for permanent residence in the U.S. The affidavit of support becomes part of the alien's DHS file. An alien may have more than one sponsor.
DHS may accept some other form or statement in lieu of the prescribed “affidavit of support” (INS Form I-134). If DHS considers a document to meet its criteria for an “affidavit of support,” so will SSA for purposes of sponsor-to-alien deeming. (References throughout this section to “affidavit of support” are to Form I-134 or any other document meeting DHS' criteria.
For deeming purposes, a sponsor does not include an organization such as the congregation of a church or a service club, or an employer who only guarantees employment for an alien upon entry to the U.S. but does not sign an affidavit of support.
C. Policy — sponsor-to-alien deeming period
1. Deeming Period
a. October 1, 1980 Through December 31, 1993
If an alien admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence has a sponsor and files for SSI after September 30, 1980 but prior to January 1, 1994, sponsor-to-alien deeming applies for 3 years (36 months) following the alien's date of lawful admission if the alien's “3-year deeming period” ended by January 1, 1994.
If the alien's “3-year period” did not end by January 1, 1994, the alien is subject to up to 5 years of sponsor deeming (b. and c. below).
NOTE: An alien who files for SSI in December 1993 (or has a protective filing date of December 1993) but who is first eligible for payment in January 1994 or later is subject to 3 years of sponsor deeming if the alien's “3-year deeming period” ended by January 1, 1994.
b. January 1, 1994 Through September 30, 1996
From January 1, 1994 through September 30, 1996, the following aliens are subject to sponsor-to-alien deeming for 5 years (60 months) following their dates of lawful admission to the U.S.
An alien who files for SSI on or after January 1, 1994.
An alien who refiles for SSI on or after January 1, 1994 after a prior period of SSI eligibility.
An alien eligible for SSI in December 1993 whose “3-year deeming period” (a. above) has not ended by January 1, 1994.
An alien whose eligibility is in suspense (but not terminated) in December 1993 (e.g., suspended for excess income or resources) but whose “3-year deeming period” (a. above) has not ended by January 1, 1994.
NOTE: If the alien meets the above criteria, the “5-year” deeming rule applies even if the alien's affidavit of support states that the affidavit is binding for only 3 years.
c. Effective October 1, 1996
Effective October 1, 1996, the sponsor-to-alien deeming period will be 3 years (36 months) following the date of lawful admission to the U.S. in all cases.
If a sponsored alien:
files for SSI on or after October 1, 1996, sponsor-to-alien deeming will apply for a period of 3 years following the date of lawful admission to the U.S.
is on the SSI rolls (i.e., in current pay or suspense status) in September 1996 and the alien's date of lawful admission is in October 1993 or earlier, sponsor-to-alien deeming will not apply beginning with October 1, 1996. (This will be the case even if the alien is still within the “5-year deeming period” as of October 1, 1996.)
is on the SSI rolls in September 1996 and the alien's date of lawful admission is in November 1993 or later, sponsor-to-alien deeming will apply for 3 years following the date of lawful admission.
2. Month That Deeming Begins
Sponsor-to-alien deeming begins with the month in which:
an alien is lawfully admitted into the U.S. for permanent residence (which is not necessarily the month in which the alien physically enters the U.S); or
an alien's status is adjusted to permanent resident status.
NOTE: Either of these months may be later than the alien's actual month of physical entry into the U.S. (the 50 States, District of Columbia, and Northern Mariana Islands).
Entry as a permanent resident or adjustment to permanent resident status can occur in any jurisdiction of the U.S., including its territories. An alien's date of lawful admission is usually annotated on the alien's passport or temporary I-551, or the alien's permanent I-551 (Alien Registration Receipt Card). This date of lawful admission is the date SSA uses for deeming purposes, regardless of the date of the alien's physical entry in the U.S.
3. Month That Deeming Ends
Sponsor-to-alien deeming ends on the last day of the 36th or 60th consecutive month from the date of lawful admission, depending on the applicable deeming period (C.1. above).
EXAMPLE 1: An alien subject to sponsor deeming filed for SSI in January 1993. The alien's date of lawful admission to the U.S. was March 16, 1990.
Sponsor-to-alien deeming applies for January and February 1993. (This example illustrates the policy in C.1.a. above.)
EXAMPLE 2: An alien subject to sponsor deeming filed for SSI in June 1993. The alien's date of lawful admission to the U.S. was October 10, 1991.
Sponsor-to-alien deeming applies for the period of June 1993 through September 1996. (This example illustrates the policy in C.1.a. above.)
EXAMPLE 3: An alien subject to sponsor deeming filed for SSI in September 1993. The alien's date of lawful admission to the U.S. was December 13, 1990. The alien's claim was denied due to excess deemed income from the sponsor.
The alien refiles for SSI in February 1994. Sponsor-to-alien deeming applies for the period of February 1994 through November 1995. (This example illustrates the policy in the second bullet of C.1.b. above.)
EXAMPLE 4: An alien subject to sponsor deeming files for SSI on October 12, 1996. The alien's date of lawful admission to the U.S. was January 5, 1995.
Sponsor-to-alien deeming applies for the period of October 1996 through December 1997. (This example illustrates the policy in the first bullet of C.1.c. above.)
EXAMPLE 5: An alien subject to sponsor deeming filed for SSI in June 1993. The alien's date of lawful admission to the U.S. was October 3, 1992.
Sponsor-to-alien deeming applies for the period of June 1993 through September 1996. (This example illustrates the policy in the second bullet of C.1.c. above.)
4. Multiple Deeming Periods
An alien may be subject to more than one period of sponsor-to-alien deeming.
If DHS revokes an individual's status as a lawful permanent resident but the individual is later readmitted as a permanent resident, sponsor-to-alien deeming applies again. The new date of admission as a permanent resident, as assigned by DHS, begins a new deeming period. An I-551 issued by DHS upon the alien's readmission into the U.S. and displaying a new date of admission is sufficient documentation to establish that the alien's previous permanent resident status was revoked by DHS.
An absence from the U.S. (even if it results in suspension of SSI eligibility and payments) does not affect the calculation of the deeming period unless DHS revokes the alien's permanent resident status.
EXAMPLE: The sponsored alien was admitted as a permanent resident in June 1993 and files for SSI in October 1994. Sponsor-to-alien deeming applies beginning October 1994.
In February 1995, the alien loses permanent resident status (and SSI eligibility). However, DHS readmits the alien as a permanent resident in December 1995. The alien becomes eligible again for SSI in that month.
A new sponsor-to-alien deeming period begins in December 1995 and ends in November 1998. (This example also illustrates the policy in the third bullet of C.1.c. above.)
D. Policy — multiple deeming situations
1. Deeming From More Than One Sponsor
If an alien is sponsored by more than one individual (other than two sponsors who are married to each other and living together), the sponsor-to-alien deeming rules are applied separately to the income of each sponsor to determine the total income deemable to the alien.
2. Deeming From a Sponsor Who is Also Alien's Spouse/Parent
If two deeming rules could apply to an alien because the alien's sponsor is also his/her ineligible spouse or parent who lives in the same household, the applicable spouse-to-spouse or parent-to-child deeming rules are used instead of the sponsor-to-alien deeming rules.
NOTE: If the spouse-to-spouse or parent-to-child deeming rules cease to apply, the sponsor deeming rules begin to apply beginning with the month following the month the spousal or parental deeming rules last applied.
This may be the case, for example, if an alien child attains age 18 or if either the sponsor who is the ineligible spouse or parent, or the alien, moves to a separate household.
3. Deeming From Both a Sponsor and a Spouse or Parent
If an alien has a sponsor and also has an ineligible spouse or parent who is not the sponsor and whose income can be deemed to the alien, both the sponsor-to-alien and spouse-to-spouse (or parent-to-child) deeming rules apply.
4. Sponsor Who Sponsors Two or More Aliens
If an individual sponsors two or more eligible aliens, none of whom are the spouse or child of the sponsor, then all of the sponsor's nonexcluded income is deemed to each alien (as if each alien were the only one being sponsored). The sponsor's income is not “divided” among the aliens. The sponsor-to-alien deeming rules apply separately to each alien.
5. Sponsor is Spouse/Parent of Another SSI Claimant/Recipient
If the sponsor is not the alien's spouse or parent but is the ineligible spouse or parent of another SSI claimant or recipient, the sponsor-to-alien deeming rules apply to the alien, and the applicable spouse-to-spouse or parent-to-child deeming rules apply to the other claimant /recipient. The sponsor's income is not “divided” among the two SSI claimants/recipients. The applicable deeming rules apply separately to each eligible individual.
6. Only One Member of Couple is Sponsored
If only one member of a couple is sponsored, and that member is an ineligible spouse, sponsor-to-alien deeming does not apply to the eligible member of the couple (nor would it be applicable to the ineligible member of the couple).
NOTE: In situations where only one member of an eligible couple has a sponsor and the amount of deemed income from that sponsor would make the two members ineligible as a couple, it may be more advantageous to the couple for the nonsponsored member to file as an individual with an ineligible spouse.
7. Both Members of Eligible Couple Have Same Sponsor
If both members of an eligible couple have the same sponsor, the sponsor's income is deemed to each member. The couple's countable income includes the sum of their deemed income amounts.
8. Each Member of Couple Has Different Sponsor
If each member of an eligible couple has a different sponsor, each sponsor's income is deemed to the appropriate member. The couple's income includes the sum of their deemed income amounts.
If only one member of a couple is SSI-eligible, or only one member chooses to file an SSI claim, then the eligible member is subject to spouse-to-spouse deeming from the ineligible spouse and sponsor-to-alien deeming from the eligible member's sponsor.
1. Date of Admission for Permanent Residence
Document the file with the alien's date of admission for permanent residence. See GN 00303.440 for more information.
Document the file with evidence of sponsorship. See SI 01320.915 for more information.
DHS offices that verify documents, RM 10210.210
Deeming concepts, SI 01310.100 ff.
Spouse-to-spouse deeming of income, SI 01320.400 ff.
Parent-to-child deeming of income, SI 01320.500 ff.
Sponsor-to-alien deeming of income, SI 01320.900 ff.
Aliens not subject to sponsor-to-alien deeming, SI 01320.910
Verifying sponsorship, SI 01320.915
Verifying sponsor's resources, SI 01320.920
Spouse-to-spouse deeming of resources, SI 01330.100 ff.
Parent-to-child deeming of resources, SI 01330.200 ff.