Public benefits programs do not always make it clear which services immigrants can apply for. As a result, many immigrants miss out on benefits that they do not know they can get.
If you meet the qualifications, you may be able to get food, cash and medical assistance through public benefits programs.
Which immigrants qualify for public assistance?
Public benefits programs do not all have the same rules about who qualifies. However, all programs require that immigrants prove that they will not use or become dependent on public benefits before they obtain a visa or green card or gain legal admission to the United States.
Immigrants who are asylees, survivors of trafficking, refugees, special immigrant juveniles, Violence Against Women Act petitioners or were paroled into the U.S. are exempt from this requirement.
Which public benefits can immigrants apply for?
Immigrants who meet specific requirements can apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programs, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children and Medical Assistance. Many of these programs restrict access for undocumented immigrants but some are open to all. Additionally, people with undocumented status may be able to obtain assistance from community centers.
Even if you are an undocumented immigrant, if you have children who were born in the U.S., your children have the same rights to receive assistance as any other U.S. citizen. While there are limitations on the assistance immigrants can access, there are many programs you may be eligible for.