MR #23.03: TANF Eligibility Under VAWA Provisions Subject to the Federal 5-Year Wait

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  • To remain in compliance with federal regulations, policy regarding TANF eligibility for Abused Non-Citizen Spouses, their Children and Parents seeking protection under the Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) is changed.
  • Effective immediately, individuals seeking Cash assistance as an Abused Non-Citizen Spouse, their Child or Parent under the provisions of VAWA must be an alien in Qualifying Status. Individuals in Qualifying Status are subject to the federal 5-Year Wait to become eligible receive to federal benefits.

In compliance with federal regulations, an Abused Non-Citizen Spouse, their Children or Parents must be in a Qualifying Status and is then subject to the 5-year Federal Wait to be eligible to receive federal TANF benefits.

To obtain status as a Qualified Alien under VAWA, an Abused Non-Citizen Spouse, their Children or Parents, must apply through the USCIS office. Once USCIS has reviewed the petition and determined it to meet criteria to establish a Prima Facie Case, a Prima Facie Determination is issued.

The Prima Facie Determination document is used as verification for an individual's Qualified Alien status. Qualified Alien status alone does not meet the non-citizen eligibility requirement to receive federal benefits.

Verification Requirements

Social Security Numbers are required of all TANF recipients. Abused Non-Citizen Spouses, their Children and Parents may not yet have been issued an SSN. In this situation, staff should assist by providing a letter explaining why the number is needed.

IES Clearances

Clearances in IES should be triggered, reviewed, and acted upon where appropriate when processing applications, redeterminations and changes.

The Federal Data Services Hub (FDSH) Verification clearance provides information regarding verification of the following:

  • Name
  • SSN
  • Citizenship - Runs when information is entered in the Individual Demographics page
  • Lawful Presence - Automatically triggered when information is entered in the Non-Citizen Details page and displays one of the following:
    • Not Needed when Citizenship is validated
    • Green Check Mark when Citizenship is not validated and the Alien Number or Sevis ID is found to have Lawful Presence Status.
    • A Red Circle with an "X" when validation was unsuccessful; this verification is often in combination with the Lawful Presence indicator display of the "Verify" hyperlink.

A hyperlink indicating "Verify" displays if information is omitted from any of the pertinent pages in IES to allow staff to enter the citizen or non-citizen details from the hyperlink Clearances page.

Manual Revisions

[signed copy on file]

Grace B. Hou

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services