CLS has worked for years to ensure that asylees and refugees who are elderly or have severe disabilities that prevent them from working qualify for SSI. SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, provides subsistence benefits of $674/month. But asylees and refugees who are unable to become U.S. citizens within a certain time period lose their SSI.
In 2008, CLS worked with nationwide allies to successfully lobby the U.S. Congress to pass an extension of time so that refugees and asylees could continue to receive SSI while they applied for naturalization. Unfortunately, that legislation is set to sunset, or expire, on October 1, 2011.
Last week, however, Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced a bill that would extend SSI for two more years for many asylees and refugees. CLS continues to push Congress to remove the artificial time limit for asylees and refugees to receive SSI. In the meantime, we are encouraged by this bill and are working hard to ensure that it is passed before thousands of asylees and refugees who are elderly or disabled lose their SSI at the end of September.