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Energy Assistance Eligibility Issues. NLIEC June 2005. Background. 1996 – Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) is signed into law 1997 – Dept. of Justice issues “Interim Guidance on Verification of Citizenship, Qualified Alien Status and Eligibility…”

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Presentation Transcript
  • 1996 – Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) is signed into law
  • 1997 – Dept. of Justice issues “Interim Guidance on Verification of Citizenship, Qualified Alien Status and Eligibility…”
  • 1998 – HHS issues “Guidance on the Interpretation of ‘Federal Public Benefits’ Under the Welfare Reform Law. Indicates portions of the LIHEAP program and 30 other “Federal public benefit” programs fall under PRWORA
federal public benefits
Federal Public Benefits
  • LIHEAP funds targeting individual households are considered a covered benefit
  • Citizenship and/or qualified legal alien status must be verified
verification procedures
Verification Procedures
  • Until the final ruling is issued, verifications must be carried out using the 1997 “Interim Guidance on Verification…”
  • Once the Justice Department issues a “Proposed Final Rule”, agencies may use either it or continue to use the 1997 interim guidance for two years, until the rule is fully implemented
az liheap example
  • LIHEAP benefits are available to singles and /or families
  • An Eligible Applicant must be a US citizen or qualified legal alien
  • U.S. Citizenship will be verified only when a claim of citizenship is inconsistent with other information being provided
az liheap example6

Primary documents which may be used to verify citizenship include, but are not limited to:

  • Certified birth certificates issued by a U.S. State or local governmental bureau of vital statistics
  • Certificates of Live Birth signed by a hospital official and parent
  • Naturalization papers.
  • Passports
az liheap example7

A qualified non-citizen must meet the following requirements:

  • Lawful Permanent Resident Non-Citizens
    • Entering the U.S. before August 22, 1996 must verify they are a Lawful Permanent Resident
    • Entering the U.S. after August 22, 1996 must verify they are a Lawful Permanent Resident and a period of five years has elapsed from the date of the non-citizen’s entry into the U.S
  • Non-Citizens with Military connection
other states
Other States
  • Applicant does not have to be a citizen or qualified legal alien as long as one member of the household meets the citizenship/qualified legal alien criteria. Benefits are then pro-rated based on eligible members of household.
  • Citizenship/qualified legal alien criteria may be verified by client self-declaration with no other verification requirement.
  • Non-profit CAP agencies are exempt from verifying the citizenship/qualified legal alien eligibility requirement
case study
Case Study

Arizona’s Proposition 200

Prop. 200 Impact
  • It requires verification of a person’s identity when voting.
  • It requires verification of citizenship or immigration status when public benefits are applied for.
New Requirements
  • Verify the identity of each applicant for a public benefits.
  • Verify immigration status of each applicant applying for certain public benefits.
  • Report to federal authorities any applicant for certain public benefits that is not a citizen or legal immigrant.


  • Failure to report immigration law violations by City employees is a class 2 misdemeanor.
  • Authorizes private law suits.
programs originally thought to be impacted by prop 200
Programs Originally Thought to be Impacted by Prop 200
  • Home delivered meals
  • Congregate meals
  • Case management
  • Reserve-a-ride transportation
  • Senior center operations
programs originally thought to be impacted by prop 20014
Programs Originally Thought to be Impacted by Prop 200
  • Rental assistance
  • Shelter services
  • Telecommunication Assistance
  • Utility Assistance
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
state attorney general s office opinion
State Attorney General’s Office Opinion
  • “Public benefit” defined to be those benefits received through programs in Title 46 of the Arizona Revised Statutes
  • Exceptions to Title 46 programs that are not covered by proposition 200:
    • Federally mandated benefits
    • Federal public benefits as defined by federal law.
programs impacted by prop 200
Programs Impacted by Prop 200
  • Utility Repair, Replacement & Deposit Program
  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors (Form of utility assistance)
  • State General Assistance
  • The City Council adopted an ordinance indemnifying City of Phoenix employees who follow City policy with respect to the proposition requirements.
  • Train all employees who will be required to implement the proposition.
proposition 200 timeline
Proposition 200 Timeline
  • Nov. 2 – Prop. 200 approved by voters
  • Nov. 22 – Governor signed Prop. 200 into law
  • Nov. 24/23 – City staff trained on City of Phoenix procedures
  • Nov. 30 – Restraining order blocks implementation
  • Dec. 23 – Order lifted & Prop 200 implemented
  • Dec. 10 – DES training on State procedures
  • Dec. 23 – City and State officials first meet to discuss differences between City and State procedures
  • May 9, ‘05 – City and State’s procedures fully aligned
  • Verify the identity of each applicants
  • Verify the immigration status of each applicant (self declarations not permitted)
  • Report to federal authorities any applicant that is not a legal immigrant or U.S. citizen.
city of phoenix procedures
City of Phoenix Procedures

During “Initial Review” appointments (prior to application for services), clients seeking covered services are advised of Prop. 200 requirements.

city of phoenix procedures21
City of Phoenix Procedures

Clients opting to apply for services are asked to provide proof of identity and citizenship/immigration status. Process halted until these documents are obtained.

city of phoenix procedures22
City of Phoenix Procedures

Documents are copied and verified by the caseworker and a supervisor.

city of phoenix procedures23
City of Phoenix Procedures

If the client claims to be a legal resident, the client’s status is verified using the Systematic Alien Verification Enforcement (SAVE) system via State DES workers.

city of phoenix procedures24
City of Phoenix Procedures

If the client is a verified U.S. citizen or legal resident, the application process is completed and eligible clients are assisted.

city of phoenix procedures25
City of Phoenix Procedures

Clients verified as being undocumented aliens are reported by both DES and the City to federal immigration officials.

effects on city services
Effects on City Services
  • 64 applicants processed since Prop 200 implemented
  • 24% decrease compared to the 83 applicants processed during the same time period last year
  • No cases have met the requirements to be reported to federal authorities
effects on city services27
Effects on City Services
  • No procedure exists to verify the status of U.S. citizens who do not have the proper documentation.
  • Some senior citizens have been unable to meet the verification requirements and were not able to be assisted.
statewide effects
Statewide Effects
  • At least one Community Action Agency has opted not to administer Prop 200 funds to avoid potential harm to their employees.
  • Others, like Phoenix, are seeing reduced demand for services and may hove to request to carry over unspent funds.
related legislation from 2005 session
Related Legislation from 2005 Session
  • Fourteen bills introduced in the Arizona State House dealing with undocumented aliens.
  • Three were passed and signed into law.
related legislation from 2005 session30
Related Legislation from 2005 Session
  • HB 2259 – Allows courts to consider immigration violations as aggravating circumstances.
  • HB 2592 – Prohibits cities, towns or counties from participating in any work centers which could facilitate the employment of undocumented workers.
  • HCR 2028 – Created a referendum measure to prevent illegal aliens charged with serious felony offenses from being eligible for bail.
other effects32
Other Effects

“…[S]o far, only two welfare applicants have been reported to immigration authorities for seeking state benefits illegally as defined in Proposition 200. And legal disagreements over a requirement that voters present identification at the polls have prevented the measure from applying to elections.”

other effects33
Other Effects

“About one out of every three new registrations in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal County this year has been rejected because the applicant didn't adequately provide proof of citizenship according to Proposition 200's mandate. Voters need an Arizona driver's license issued after 1996, U.S. naturalization number, a copy of a U.S. passport, a birth certificate or a tribal card number.”

more changes possible
More Changes Possible
  • Court filings to widen scope of Proposition 200 are still pending
on the spot survey
On the Spot Survey

What does your state require to verify eligibility?

Thank You ! !