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TPS and Public Benefits

Created May 2010

Can my children attend public schools while on TPS or on a B2 visitor visa?

Laws about education and immigration are different.  Public education from kindergarten to 12th grade is open to all children. It does not matter what their immigration status is. 

If your children have TPS, they can attend school and it will not hurt their TPS status.

If your children attend school while on a B2 visa, they will lose their B2 visa.  Your children will need another type of immigration visa to go to school.  Speak to an immigration attorney.

Source:  Plyler v. DOE, 457 U.S. 202 (1982)
Created May 2010

Is there any cash or food assistance for Haitians granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

On March 30th, the Obama Administration issued guidance stating that Haitians with TPS are not “qualified aliens” eligible for federal safety-net benefits. This means that Haitians granted TPS are not eligible to receive food stamp/SNAP benefits, TAFDC cash assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid (Mass Health Standard) unless they also have one of the other statuses listed above (e.g. in deportation, order of supervision, pending asylum). It is possible that some Haitians with TPS may also have one of these other statuses. If you have a client who needs these safety-net benefits, contact a local Legal Services office to find if this federal ruling has changed or if the individual may be eligible on other grounds. As noted above, elder or severely disabled Haitians with TPS may also be eligible for EAEDC cash assistance benefits. Haitians with TPS who are caretakers of a U.S. citizen or “qualified” immigrant child or spouse can also apply for TAFDC, foods stamps/SNAP or SSI benefits for any child or spouse who is a U.S. citizen or meets the other rules for “qualified” status. See Question 38 below.

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Clarification on SNAP Eligibility of Haitians Granted TPS: //www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2010/033010.pdf; Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) Regulations at 106 CMR 362.220, (SNAP) 203.675 (TAFDC), 320.620(EAEDC DTA Non-Citizen Desk Guide, 2004 (re TPS and EAEDC benefits) //www.masslegalservices.org/node/18768
Created May 2010

Can Haitian immigrants get state-funded benefits? 

Massachusetts provides state-funded cash assistance for persons who are elderly (age 65+), severely disabled or caring for a distantly related or an unrelated child.

But not your own?

. The benefit is very small ($303/month) for a one-person household.  There are no state-funded Food Stamps/SNAP benefits for immigrants in Massachusetts.

The EAEDC program is available to “qualified aliens” including those who meet the federal requirements listed above, as well as legally present immigrants “under color of law”  (PRUCOL).  This includes immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), with pending adjustment for a green card, and other statuses. Many LPRs who are elder or disabled receive EAEDC due to the extremely difficult eligibility rules in the SSI program affecting immigrants. Contact an advocate if you have an elder or severely disabled Haitian client who is an LPR or otherwise in “qualified” status and was denied SSI. 

Sources:  DTA Regulations at 106 CMF 320.620(EAEDC), Mass Health Regulations at 130 C.M.R. §§ 504.002(F) (children and disabled adults), 519.013 (elderly).   DTA Non-Citizen Desk Guide, 2004 (re TPS and EAEDC benefits) //www.masslegalservices.org/node/18768 
Created May 2010

Can Haitians with TPS receive MassHealth coverage?

Children with TPS and elderly or disabled adults with TPS may be eligible for certain kinds of MassHealth coverage depending on income. The MassHealth program provides different types of coverage to non-citizens ineligible for federal benefits. He or she must also satisfy the financial and other eligibility requirements to receive MassHealth.

Individuals under age 19, disabled or elderly who are not “qualified aliens” but have legal status, including TPS, may be eligible for other coverage types. Children may be eligible for CommonHealth or Family Assistance; adults who are disabled or elderly may be eligible for MassHealth Essential. Other uninsured adults may be eligible for Commonwealth Care. Others may be eligible for other medical benefits including the Health Safety Net. 

Important:  As noted in Question 34, federal Medicaid is available to Haitians who are paroled into the US after 1980, have an asylum application pending, or are in deportation proceedings without a final, non-appealable order. These Haitian immigrants may be eligible for more kinds of MassHealth as a “Cuban/Haitian entrant”, whether or not also granted TPS.

Sources:  MassHealth regulations at 130 CMR 504.002; MassHealth PRUCOL Memo, May 14, 2008 //www.masslegalservices.org/node/23672  MassHealth Advocacy Guide //www.masslegalservices.org/MassHealthAdvocacyGuide
Created May 2010

If I have TPS, can I get a MA driver’s license or ID?

TPS recipients may be able to get a Massachusetts driver’s license, Massachusetts ID or MA Liquor ID.

Source: MA Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) Drivers Manual //www.mass.gov/rmv/dmanual/chapter1.pdf
Created May 2010

If I have TPS, can I apply for a Social Security number?

Yes, only noncitizens whom the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has given special authorization to work in the United States can get a Social Security number. If you have  TPS and your application for authorization to work has been approved, you can get a Social Security Number.  Employers use Social Security numbers to report their employees’ wages to the government. The government then works out your Social Security benefits according to your employment history. You need a Social Security number to work, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services.

Source: Social Security Administration //www.ssa.gov/pubs/10096.html
Created May 2010

If I have TPS, can I get in-state tuition or federal financial aid?

In-state tuition

If you have TPS, you may be able to get in-state tuition rates at Massachusetts public colleges and universities. 

Please note

There is a 6 month state residency requirement for community college in-state tuition; and a 12 month state residency requirement for state school and university in-state tuition.

Source:  MA Department of Higher Education “Residency Status for Tuition Classification Purposes” at:   //www.mass.edu/library/Motions/2007/FAAP07-24.pdf

Federal financial aid

TPS recipients are not eligible for federal financial aid. 

However, you may be eligible for financial aid as a Cuban/Haitian entrant if you are a Haitian with TPS and

  • You were paroled into the US after 1980, or
  • you have an asylum application pending, or
  • you are in deportation proceedings without a final order.

As we get further guidance, other Haitians with TPS may be eligible for financial aid as well.

Source:  U.S. Department of Education “The Federal Student Financial Aid Handbook”
Created May 2010

If I have TPS, can I apply for public housing?

State public housing does not require a specific immigration status to apply. Only some federal housing programs do not require a specific immigration status either. In general, TPS beneficiaries cannot get federal public housing.

However, you may be able to apply for some federal housing programs as a Cuban/Haitian entrant if you are a Haitian with TPS and

  • You were paroled into the US after 1980, or
  • you have an asylum application pending, or
  • you are in deportation proceedings without a final order.

As we get further guidance, other Haitians with TPS may be eligible for federal public housing as well. Contact a legal service attorney for more information on applying for public housing. 

You can also visit //www.masslegalhelp.org/housing/finding-housing-booklets for more information.

Source:  Legal Tactics:  Finding Public and Subsidized Housing. Visit //www.masslegalhelp.org/housing/finding-housing-booklets

Get Legal Help

Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.

Get Legal Help

Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.

 

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