This bill amends the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). The original law, passed by the Clinton administration, aimed to address public concern over ‘welfare dependency’. It eliminated several federal assistance programs and imposed restrictions on accessing welfare support including mandating a work requirement for accessing programs like food stamps and creating time limits for participating in programs. Under PRWORA, immigrants only became eligible for low-income assistance programs five years after obtaining legal residency.
The proposed bill would amend PRWORA to: 1) eliminate the five-year bar for qualified non-citizens accessing Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, and SSI after achieving ‘resident’ status, 2) make federal public benefit programs available to immigrants with legal status, including people with DACA status, temporary protected status, among others, 3) offers states flexibility in using state funds to support immigrants ineligible for federal support programs.