Identification Number:
SI 00502 TN 22
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP OISP
Title:SSI Alien Eligibility
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part SI – Supplemental Security Income
Chapter 005 – Eligibility
Subchapter 02 – SSI Alien Eligibility
Transmittal No. 22, 07/13/2021

Audience

OCO-OEIO: CR, FCR, FDE, RECONE;
FO/TSC: CS, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, DRT, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

OISP

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

This transmittal updates instructions to clarify existing policy related to the DHS Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and how to verify if an alien has a sponsor.

Summary of Changes

SI 00502.240 New Version Affidavit of Support

We made the following changes:

We renamed the POMS instructions "Legally Enforceable/New Version Affidavit of Support (I-864)."

  • Subsection A. - We updated language to improve the clarity regarding the background and use of the new version affidavit of support (DHS form I-864).

  • Subsection B. - We renamed this subsection "Preview of instructions" and moved the POMS links to the beginning of the bulleted item. We added bulleted items for subsections SI 00502.240G, G.8., H and I.

  • Subsection C. - We renamed this subsection “New version affidavit of support for an alien subject to sponsor deeming” and updated language to improve clarity.

  • Subsection D. - We renamed this subsection “Exceptions to sponsor deeming in new version affidavit of support cases” and updated language to improve clarity.

    • Subsection D.1. - We added aliens who are self-petitioned as an additional bulleted category of aliens who do not have sponsors. We also added an “IMPORTANT” note to add information that addresses the Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant class.

    • Subsection D.2. - We renamed this subsection “Battery Exception” and updated the language to improve clarity.

    • Subsection D.3. - We renamed this subsection “Indigence Exception” and updated the language to improve clarity.

    • Subsection D.4. - We updated the language in this subsection to improve clarity.

  • Subsection E. - We renamed this subsection “Deeming period for new version affidavit of support cases" and updated language to improve clarity.

  • Subsection F. - We renamed this subsection “Amount of income and resources deemed to an alien in new version affidavit of support cases” and updated the links to replace SI 01330.500 with SI 01330.550.

  • Subsection G. - We renamed this subsection “Procedure for verifying and developing sponsorship.”

    • Subsection G.1. - We renamed this subsection “How to verify sponsorship” and updated the language to improve clarity. We also changed subsections a., b. and c. to make them bulleted items.

    • Subsection G.2. - We added information about how to verify sponsorship via SAVE, what sponsorship information is included in the SAVE response, and updated the language to improve clarity.

    • Subsection G.3. -We renamed this subsection "Developing the Battery and Indigence Deeming Exception" and provided information on developing the battery exception and the indigence exception.

    • Subsection G.5. - We updated the POMS links in this subsection.

    • Subsection G.7. - We added a link to MS 00302.018 and language to improve clarity. We also moved the "NOTE" to a separate line.

    • Subsection G.8. - We added this subsection and titled it “Sponsor Repayment.” This subsection provides links to instructions for posting the sponsor's repayment debt, processing the sponsor's repayment, and recovering a sponsored alien's SSI payment from the sponsor.

  • Subsection H. - We renamed this subsection “References for multiple deeming situations" and moved the POMS links to the beginning of the bulleted items.

  • Subsection I. - We renamed this subsection “References for eligibility” and moved the POMS links to the beginning of the bulleted items.

SI 00502.240 Legally Enforceable/New Version Affidavit of Support (I-864)

A. Background

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Welfare Reform Act of 1996) (as amended by the Immigration Reform Act of 1996 and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997) created new sponsor deeming rules that apply to aliens whose sponsors sign new, legally enforceable affidavits of support. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) of the Department of Justice (DOJ), began using the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), commonly referred to as the "new version affidavit of support" with applications for immigrant visas or adjustments of status filed on or after 12/19/1997.

The DHS Form I-864 is required for most family-based immigrants and some employment-based intending immigrants to show they have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to become a public charge. When the sponsor signs the new version affidavit of support, the sponsor is agreeing to use their resources to support the individual or individuals named in the new version affidavit of support, if it becomes necessary. If the sponsored immigrant later receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) the sponsor is required to reimburse the agency in the amount of those benefits. If the sponsor does not make repayment, SSA refers the case to DOJ for civil recovery action.

B. Preview of instructions

Key information in this section includes guidance on:

  • SI 00502.240C Aliens subject to sponsor deeming in new version affidavit of support cases

  • SI 00502.240D Exceptions to sponsor deeming in new version affidavit of support cases

  • SI 00502.240E Deeming period for new version affidavit of support cases

  • SI 00502.240F Amount of income and resources deemed in new version affidavit of support cases

  • SI 00502.240G Procedure for verifying sponsorship

  • SI 00502.240G.8. References for posting and processing a sponsor's repayment debt, recovery of sponsored alien's SSI payment from the sponsor

  • SI 00502.240H References for multiple deeming situations

  • SI 00502.240I References for eligibility

 

C. New version affidavit of support for an alien subject to sponsor deeming

With the exceptions noted in SI 00502.240D, the income and resources of aliens whose sponsors signed the new version affidavit of support are deemed to include the income and resources of their sponsors, as well as their sponsor's spouses, if both spouses reside in the same household. Sponsored aliens are subject to deeming regardless of whether they live with their sponsors.

NOTE: References throughout these instructions to “sponsor” also include the sponsor’s spouse who resides in the same household as the sponsor.

For cases using the new version affidavit of support, if the alien’s sponsor is the alien’s ineligible spouse or parent, use sponsor deeming . Spousal or parental deeming does not apply.

Unlike the policies that apply in old version affidavit of support cases (SI 00502.220):

  • Aliens sponsored under the new version affidavit of support who become blind or disabled after admission to the U.S. are not exempt from sponsor deeming; and

  • There is no time limit on sponsor deeming under the new version affidavit rules. Therefore, deeming continues indefinitely until one of the events listed in SI 00502.240E.2 occurs.

D. Exceptions to sponsor deeming in new version affidavit of support cases

The following aliens who obtained visas or status adjustment after 12/17/1997 are not subject to sponsor deeming:

1. Aliens who do not have sponsors

Among the categories of aliens potentially eligible to receive SSI, those who are not required to have sponsors include most aliens:

  • with refugee status, see SI 00502.100; or

  • with asylee status, see SI 00502.100; or

  • whose deportations have been withheld under section 243(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (as it existed before 4/1/1997) or whose removals have been withheld under section 241(b)(3) of the INA (after 3/31/1997), see SI 00502.100; or

  • who are self-petitioned.

NOTE: Numerous other immigrant categories are not required to have sponsors either; information on whether or not any particular individual has a sponsor should be obtained from SAVE, as discussed below in SI 00502.240G.2.

IMPORTANT: Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants are self-petitioned (SI 00502.109).

2. Battery Exception

Aliens who meet the battery exception in SI 00502.116 may be exempt from sponsor deeming for 12 months. The exemption may continue after 12 months ONLY under certain specified conditions. See SI 00502.116 for instructions on applying this exception.

3. Indigence Exception

Aliens for whom non-receipt of, or reduction in SSI would cause indigence may be exempt from sponsor deeming. This exception generally only applies for 12 months for both initial claims and post-eligibility situations. See SI 00502.280 for instructions on applying this exception.

4. Aliens who have 40 qualifying quarters (QQs)

Sponsor deeming does not apply when a lawfully admitted for permanent residence (LAPR) alien can be credited with 40 QQs. Therefore, ceases when a LAPR alien who is SSI-eligible attains 40 QQs. (See SI 00502.135 for instructions on the 40 QQ exception.)

NOTE: No other exceptions to sponsor deeming apply to new version affidavit of support cases. However, if there is any question about whether an individual is a sponsored alien, SAVE should be used to verify sponsorship status as indicated below in SI 00502.240G.2.

E. Deeming period for new version affidavit of support cases

1. When Deeming Begins

a. Initial claims

For initial claims, the income and resources of a sponsor who signed a new version affidavit are deemed to the alien. The deemed income and resources are used to determine initial SSI eligibility and, if eligible, payment for the first month in which all eligibility factors are met (see SI 00601.009).

The sponsor's income in the first month of payment is used to determine the alien's payment for that month and for the subsequent month. Thereafter, regular retrospective monthly accounting (RMA) rules apply.

EXAMPLE:

An alien whose sponsor signed a new version affidavit of support files a SSI application on 7/21/1999. The alien’s sponsor signed the affidavit on 4/4/1998. Deeming applies in 7/99 to determine the first month of eligibility. The sponsor's income for 8/99 is used to determine the alien's amount of payment for 8/99, the first month of payment.

b. Posteligibility

For posteligibility cases (e.g., adjustment of status cases), the income and resources of a sponsor who signed a new version affidavit are deemed to the alien beginning the month after the month the alien attains permanent residence.

EXAMPLE:

A SSI-eligible alien who entered the U.S. in a temporary status petitions DHS to adjust her status to LAPR. Before granting LAPR status, DHS requires that she have a sponsor. Her sponsor signs a new version affidavit of support on 12/12/1998 and consequently the alien attains LAPR on the same day. Deeming begins effective 1/1/1999. If the alien remains eligible for benefits and a normal RMA budget cycle applies, payment is calculated using the deemed income beginning in 3/99.

2. When Deeming Ceases

Deeming ceases to apply the month after the month the:

  • alien becomes a naturalized citizen of the United States (GN 00303.100 and GN 00303.120A.9.); or

  • sponsor dies (if the sponsor's spouse dies deeming does not cease); or

  • alien is no longer LAPR and has departed the U.S.

Deeming ceases to apply in the month the LAPR alien can be credited with 40 QQs. (See SI 00502.135 for when QQs earned by a spouse or parent can be counted as the alien’s QQs.)

If none of the above events occurs, deeming continues indefinitely.

REMEMBER: Even if deeming is to be stopped, include any deemed income in the budget month computation, using the RMA rules, when determining the SSI payment amount.

F. Amount of income and resources deemed to an alien in new version affidavit of support cases

The amount of the sponsor’s income and resources subject to deeming will be determined as specified in SI 01320.940 - SI 01320.950 and SI 01330.550.

Deemed income and resources from the sponsor are added to the alien’s own countable income and resources to determine the alien’s total countable income and resources.

When the sponsor’s income and resources are deemed to the alien, cash and in-kind support and maintenance (ISM) provided to the alien by the sponsor are NOT counted as income to the alien. However, when the indigence exception (described in SI 00502.280) applies, any income (cash or ISM) the alien receives from the sponsor counts as income to the alien.

G. Procedure for verifying and developing sponsorship

1. When to verify sponsorship

Verify sponsorship for all alien claimants who are eligible for SSI. To be eligible for SSI, an alien claimant must meet the basic eligibility requirements in SI 00501.001.B and the alien eligibility requirements in SI 00502.100.

IMPORTANT: Sponsorship is not a factor of SSI eligibility. Therefore, an alien who has a sponsor is not automatically eligible or ineligible for SSI. As long as the alien claimant meets all factors of SSI eligibility (e.g., be aged, blind, or disabled; have income and resources within the allowable limits and meets the SSI alien eligibility requirements), they can be paid SSI.

See SI 00502.215C for a list of immigration codes that may indicate the alien was sponsored under a new version affidavit.

Do not develop sponsorship for:

  • Any month in which an alien is ineligible for SSI for a reason other than deeming (e.g., alien is ineligible because of the alien's own income and resources).

  • Aliens who meet the conditions for exceptions to sponsorship listed in SI 00502.240D above.

  • Aliens who would be ineligible based on his or her own income and resources.

Verify sponsorship for all other qualified aliens who are otherwise eligible for SSI and subject to deeming.

NOTE: For aged aliens who need a disability determination, do not defer development of sponsorship pending the disability decision.

2. How to Verify Sponsorship

Request sponsorship information about the alien from DHS/USCIS via the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program using the following steps:

  • Initiate a SAVE Initial Verification.

  • Enter the requested information as prompted and select SSI as the benefit the applicant is requesting.

Since SSI is a federal means-tested public benefit, if sponsor information from a legally enforceable affidavit of support is available, SAVE will electronically return a response that includes the sponsor's:

  • First and last name and middle initial,

  • Social Security Number, and

  • Address.

If SAVE has no sponsorship information, then “Not Applicable” will be displayed in the “Sponsors” section of the Case Details page in SAVE.

In some situations, the SAVE initial verification response may instruct you to institute Additional Verification if you need sponsor information. In these situations, institute an Additional Verification with a note in the "Special Comments" field specifically requesting sponsor information.

IMPORTANT: If the SAVE response includes sponsor information, then the screen will also include an "Answer Sponsorship Compliance Questions" button that contains sponsor deeming and agency reimbursement questions. DO NOT SELECT THIS BUTTON AND DO NOT ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS . SSA does not have legal authority to provide answers to these questions. You do not need to complete these compliance questions to verify sponsor information.

NOTE: DHS forms G-845 and G-845 Supplement are obsolete. Therefore all of the specialized information previously available on these paper forms are now available electronically in SAVE during a case verification query. The "Additional Request" feature in SAVE replaces the paper G-845 Supplement.

3. Developing the Battery and Indigence Deeming Exception

  1. a. 

    Battery Exception

    Cases where the battery exception would apply are sensitive and require tactful handling. For sponsor-to-alien deeming to be suspended due to the battery exception:

    • a qualified alien, a qualified alien’s child, or the parent of a qualified alien child that has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a spouse, parent, or other member of the family living in the same household as the alien, and in the case of a qualified alien whose child is abused, the alien did not participate in the abuse, and

    • there is a substantial connection between the battery and the need for benefits, and

    • the abusive act(s) must have taken place while the alien was in the United States, but the individual subject to such battery or cruelty must not currently reside in the same household with the individual responsible for the cruelty or battery.

    If battery or extreme cruelty is alleged and it appears the exception might apply, develop the battery exception following the guidelines in SI 00502.116.

  2. b. 

    Indigence Exception

    Cases where the indigence exception would apply are sensitive and require tactful handling.

    To determine if the indigence exception should be developed, discuss deeming provisions and the exceptions with the alien. Explain to the alien that SSA considers the sponsor’s income and resources to be the alien's income and resources in determining eligibility and computing payment. Briefly explain when the indigence exception applies based on the criteria of SI 00502.280. If it appears the exception might apply, follow the guidelines in SI 00502.280.

4. Verifying Sponsor’s Income and Resources

Follow the instructions in SI 01320.920.

5. Determining Deemed Income and Resources

Apply the policies in SI 01320.940 - SI 01320.950 and SI 01330.500 to determine the amount of deemed income and resources.

6. Systems Considerations

MSSICS cannot process cases where deeming under the new version affidavit will apply. Input manually the sponsor’s deemed income as Type V unearned income (see SM 01005.195 for initial claims input and SM 01305.330 for posteligibility input). Also, input the appropriate sponsor deeming code to the AR field (see SM 01005.630).

7. Notice Requirement

The notice in a case involving deeming under the new version affidavit cannot be automated. Suppress the automated notice (see MS 00302.018, SM 01005.535 or SM 01301.675) and prepare a manual notice including a general description of deeming under the new version affidavit. Remember to fax the manual notice into NDRed.

NOTE: The language that describes the effect of deeming (e.g., paragraphs 1234 and 1248) is unchanged. See SI 00502.550A for additional language to be included in the notice to the alien.

8. Sponsor Repayment

Follow instructions in GN 02230.055A.6. for posting the sponsor's repayment debt and instructions in GN 02403.006 (Field Office) and OS 00501.012 (Processing Center) for processing the sponsor's repayment. Follow instructions in SI 02220.065 for recovery of sponsored alien's SSI payment from the sponsor.

H. References for multiple deeming situations

I. References for eligibility

  • SI 00502.100 Basic Alien Eligibility Requirements

  • SI 00502.110 General Alien Development

  • SI 00502.115 Verification of Alien Eligibility with DHS

  • SI 00502.130 Time-Limited Eligibility for Certain Aliens

  • SI 00502.135 LAPR Alien with 40 QQs of Earnings

  • SI 00502.140 Veteran or Active Duty Member of the Armed Forces, a Spouse, or a Dependent Child


SI 00502 TN 22 - SSI Alien Eligibility - 7/13/2021