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Immigrants' Eligibility for Federal Benefits

By Marcia Henry

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 imposed some of the most severe eligibility restrictions on benefits on lawfully present immigrants who had been receiving Supplemental Security Income and food stamps. In the late 1990s Congress restored coverage to some of the immigrants who had been receiving these benefits when the 1996 welfare law was passed. Two tables offer a user-friendly overview of immigrants' eligibility for federal public benefits.

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