Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA); Interpretation of “Federal Public Benefit” [pdf]

This notice with comment period interprets the term “Federal public benefit” as used in Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), Pub. L. 104-193, and identifies the HHS programs that provide such benefits under this interpretation. According to section 401 of PRWORA, aliens who are not “qualified aliens” are not eligible for any “Federal public benefit,” unless the “Federal public benefit” falls within a specific exception. A “Federal public benefit” includes “any grant, contract, loan, professional license, or commercial license” provided to an individual, and also “any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public, or assisted housing, post-secondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit.” Under section 432, providers of a non-exempt “Federal public benefit” must verify that a person applying for the benefit is a qualified alien and is eligibile to receive the benefit.