Older Non-Citizens at Risk under Law Welfare Reform Could End Benefits

By Halton, Beau | The Florida Times Union, September 8, 1996 | Go to article overview

Older Non-Citizens at Risk under Law Welfare Reform Could End Benefits


Halton, Beau, The Florida Times Union


Older immigrants who have yet to become citizens could be the

unintended victims of the federal Welfare Reform Act in

Jacksonville and elsewhere, elderly advocates and social

services officials say.

The legislation, which becomes law Oct. 1, is intended to get

able-bodied people off welfare and into the work force. But it

also could cause many elderly non-citizens to lose their

Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other benefits,

"The intent of this law was not to put some poor older person

who recently immigrated here, who's living in some nursing home

in Duval County, out on the street, but that's what it's going

to do," Lipscomb said last week. "We've got a mess on our

hands."

Elderly non-citizens could be one of the hardest-hit groups

since many of them aren't eligible for their current assistance

under the hnew law.

Under the law, legal non-citizens can qualify for continued

benefits if they are refugees, asylum seekers or members of the

armed forces. They also can receive benefits if they have worked

for 10 years in the United States and have been paying into

Social Security.

But the non-residents, who advocates fear will be victimized,

immigrated late in life, or might have worked at jobs without

payroll deductions.

Though the effect is expected to hit hardest in South Florida,

hundreds of people in the Jacksonville area could be affected,

said Nancy Valdivieso, director of the Catholic Charities

Legalization Program in Jacksonville. …

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