May 02, 2004

When Congress passed the 1996 welfare reform law it included a provision for undocumented disabled refugees from places like Cambodia, China and Viet Nam, to receive SSI provided that they become naturalized within seven years in order to continue receiving benefits. However, according to Illinois Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky, through "no fault of their own, many elderly, blind and disabled refugees and asylees have been unable to meet this 7-year requirement due to:
Extraordinary delays by the U.S. government in processing their citizenship applications, further aggravated by new post-9/11 security precautions; and
The difficulty of the process for persons of advancing years and deteriorating mental capacity, often compounded by the lasting effects of exposure to extreme physical deprivation and psychological trauma."
If this is so, it is yet another case of the government's "right hand" preventing its "left hand" from doing its job.

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