Number: 105-6
Date: August 1, 1997



On July 30, 1997, the House passed the conference report accompanying H.R.20 15, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, by a vote of 346 to 85. On July 31, the Senate passed H.R . 2015 by a vote of 85 to 15. Provisions of interest to SSA are as follows:


SSI Eligibility for Aliens Receiving SSI on August 22, 1996 and Disabled Legal Aliens in the United States on August 22, 1996

Provides that "qualified alien" noncitizens lawfully residing in the United States who received SSI on August 22, 1996, would remain eligible for SSI--i .e., eligibility "grandfathered."

Also provides that "qualified aliens" lawfully residing in the United States on August 22, 1996 would be eligible for SSI if they meet the SSI definition of disability or blindness.

Extends from September 30, 1997 to September 30, 1998 the period during which redeterminations of eligibility can be conducted for noncit izens who were receiving SSI on August 22, 1996. Thus, noncit izens who are not "qualified aliens" who received SSI on August 22, 1996 could remain eligible until September 30, 1998.

Effective as if enacted in the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996" (PRWORA), pertinent sections of which were effective upon its enactment--i.e., August 22, 1996.

Extension of Eligibility Period for Refugees and Certain Qualified Aliens from 5 to 7 years for SSI and Medicaid; Status of Cuban/Haitian Entrants

Extends the current 5-year eligibility period for refugees, asylees, and noncitizens who have had their deportations withheld to 7 years. Also adds Cuban and Haitian entrants to the categories of noncitizens who are cons idered to be "qualified aliens," to the categories of noncitizens who are eligible for SSI for 7 years after they are granted status, and to the categories of noncitizens who are exempt from the 5-year eligibility ban on noncitizens who enter the United States after August 22, 1996.

Effective as if enacted in PRWORA.

Treatment of Certain Amerasian Immigrants as Refugees

Adds Amerasian immigrants to the categories of noncitizens who are eligible for SSI and for the first 7 years after they are admitted to the United States and would exempt them from the 5-year eligibility ban on noncitizens who enter the United States after August 22, 1996.

Effective as if enacted in PRWORA.

Exceptions for Certain Indians from Limitation on Eligibility for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid Benefits

Exempts noncitizen members of federally recognized Indian tribes or noncitizen native Americans who come under section 289 of the Immigration and Nationality Act from the SSI and Medicaid restrictions in PRWORA, including the restriction on benefits only to "qualified aliens" and the 5-year ban.

Effective as if enacted in PRWORA.

Exemption from Restriction on SSI Program Participation by Certain Recipients Eligible on the Basis of Very Old Applications

Exempts individuals who have been on SSI rolls since before January 1, 1979 from the noncitizen restrictions in PRWORA if the Commissioner lacks clear and convincing evidence that such an individual is a noncitizen ineligible for benefits under the restri ctions in PRWORA.

Effective as if enacted in PRWORA.

Derivative Eligibility for Medicaid and Food Stamp Benefits

Provides that noncitizens who are otherwise ineligible for Medicaid under PRWORA, may be eligible for Medicaid if they receive 551 benefits and if the State's Medicaid plan provides Medicaid eligibility for SSI recipients.

Also provides that noncitizens who are otherwise ineligible under PRWORA for food stamps would not be made eligible for food stamps because they receive SSI.

Effective as if enacted in PRWORA.

Definition of Qualified Alien: Inclusion of Noncitizen Child of Battered Parent as Qualified Alien

Provides that the benefit-paying agencies rather than the Attorney General make certain determinations. Such determinations would be made under guidance promulgated hy the Attorney General. Also provides "qualified alien" status to noncitizen childrenwhose parents are abused and makes conforming amendments reflecting changes in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

State Supplementary Payment Program

Fees for Federal Administration of State Supplementary Payments

Increases fees for SSA's administering supplementary payments (currently $5 per check) under the following schedule: FY 98--$6.20; FY 99--$7.60, FY 00-$ 7.80 ; FY 01--$8.10; FY 02--$8.50. Each succeeding year, fees would be indexed to increases in the Consumer Price Index or set at a different rate as determined by the Commissioner of Social Security.

Amounts of fees collected in excess of $5 per check would be credited to a special Treasury fund available for SSA administrative purposes . Such amounts would be credited as a discretionary offset to discretionary spending to the extent that they are made available for expenditures in appropriations acts.

Effective upon enactment.

Technical Amendments to PRWORA

Disclosures Involving Fugitive Felons and Probation and Parole Violators

Authorizes SSA to charge fees as a condition for processing requests by law enforcement authorities for SSN and address information regarding SSI beneficiaries who are fugitive felons or probation or parole violators.

Treatment of Prisoners

Authorizes prisoner reporting incentive payments to a penal institution with respect to an inmate who receives an SSI benefit for the month preceding the first month throughout which he is an inmate of the institution, and who is determined to he ineligible for an benefit based on the information provided by the institution.

Children With Disabilities

Eligibility Redeterminations for SSI Children Who are Under Age 18

Extends current 12-month period (ending 8/22/97) to 18 months (ending 2/22/98) for redetermining the disability of children under age 18 under the new standards. However. if a redetermination is not made within this time period. requires that it be conducted as soon thereafter as practical. Also, requires that the individual be notified of the redetermination provision before the redetermination process is started.

Eligibility Redeterminations for SSI Recipients Who Attain Age 18

Provides SSA with the authority to make redeterminations of disabled childhood SSI recipients who attain age 18, using the adult disability eligibility criteria, more than one year after the date such recipient attains age 18.

Continuing Disability Review Required for Low Birth Weight Babies

Permits 55A to schedule a continuing disability review for a child whose eligibility for SSI benefits is based on low binh weight at a date after such individual's first birthday if the Commissioner determines that such individual's impairment is not expected to improve within 12 months of the child's birth.

Additional Accountability Requirements (Dedicated Accounts)

Clarifies that monies from a dedicated account which are misapplied by an individual who is his or her own payee shall reduce future SSI payments to that individual and also clarifie s the type of benefits a representative payee may deposit in a previously established account.

Reduction in Cash Benefits Payable to Institutionalized Individuals Whose Medical Costs Are Covered by Private Insurance

Replaces the terms "hospital, extended care facility, nursing home, or intermediate care facility" in section 1611(e) with "medical treatment facility " and makes other conforming changes.

Clarification of the Effective Date of the Denial of SSI Benefits to Drug Addicts and Alcoholics

Clarifies the meaning of the term "final adjudication" and clarifies SSA's authority to make SSI medical redeterminations after January 1, 1997.

Expands the applicability of the provisions in P.L. 104-121 which require treatment referrals and authorization of a $50 fee for organizations serving as representative payees for 551 beneficiaries who are incapable and have a DAA condition. Under current law, the provisions are limited to 551 applications and reapplicat ions filed after July I, 1996. This amendment extends these provisions to 551 beneficiaries whose applications are adjudicated after enactment of P.L. 104-121--March 29, 1996-- (regardless of when filed) and to individuals allowed SSI benefits before March 29, 1996 and who filed a request for a new medical determination before July I, 1996.

Repeal of Obsolete Reporting Requirement

Repeals an obsolete reponing requirements in subsections (b)(3)(B)(ii) of section 201 of P.L. 103-296, the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994. Reports were to have been made to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance on SSA's experience with SSI beneficiaries whose disabling condition is primarily caused by alcohol or drug addiction.

Timing of Delivery of October 1, 2000, SSI Benefit Payments

Provides that the October 2000 SSI check be paid on October 2, which is a Monday, rather than on the last Friday in September.

Exceptions to Benefit Limitations: Corrections to Reference Concerning Noncitizens Whose Deportation Is Withheld

Reflects the redesignation of Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) section 243(h) to 241(h)(3) in order to assure that noncitizens whose are withheld under either section are treated the same way effective April 1, 1997. Such noncitizens may be eligible for SSI during the 7-year period beginning the date their deporta tions are withheld.

Veteran Exception: Application of Minimum Active Duty Service Requirement; Extension to Unremarried Surviving Spouse; Expanded Definition of Veteran

Requires a minimum of military service--generally 24 months--in order to qualify for SSI and Medicaid.

Makes the following clarifications:

-- Provides SSI eligibility to an unremarried surviving spouse of a noncitizen veteran or active duty military personnel generally if they were married for at least one year.

-- Provides that the term "veteran" includes military personnel who dies during active duty service.

-- Provides that certain Filipinos who fought for the United States military during World War II are considered veterans for benefit eligibility purposes.

Notification Concerning Noncitizens Not Lawfully Present; Correction of Terminology

Provides for replacing in section 1631(e)(9) of the Social Security Act "unlawfully in the United States" with "not lawfully present in the United States."

Correction To Assure That Crediting Applies To All Quart rs of Coverage Earned By Parents Before a Child is 18

Clarifies that all quarters of coverage earned by a parent before child is age 18, including those earned before the child was born, may be credited to the noncitizen child for purposes of the child's eligibility for SSI.

Other Provisions of Interest

Medicaid--State Option for Continued Coverage for Disabled Children Who Lose SSI

Provides States the option of continuing Medicaid to disabled children who were receiving SSI benefits as of 8/22/96 and would have continued to be eligible for such benefits except that their eligibility terminated because they did not meet the new, more strict SSI childhood disability criteria.

Medicaid--State Option to Permit Workers With Disabilities to Buy Into Medicaid

Permits individuals with disabilities whose family income is less than 250% of poverty to buy into Medicaid. States would determine amount of the premium, which would be based on a sliding scale based on income.

Disclosure of Quarters of Coverage Information

Authorizes SSA to disclose quarters of coverage information about a noncitizen or the spouse or parent of an alien for purposes of determining the noncitizen's eligibility under certain Federally funded benefit programs.

Effective as if enacted in PRWORA.

Medicare Part B Premium Assistance For Low-Income Seniors

Expands the current level of premium assistance by establishing a $1.5 billion capped entitlement block grant to States to use to assist Medicaid enrollees whose family incomes range from 120 percent to 135 percent of the poverty level.

Under current law, States are required to pay the Medicare Part B premium for Medicaid beneficiaries whose family income is between 100 percent and 120 percent of the poverty level.

This new program would not, however, provide any individual entitlement to any low- income senior citizens . The amount of assistance a person would get would be decided by the States . In addition, the block grant is authorized for five years, but the increase in premium is permanent.

Disclosure of Quarters of Coverage Information

Authorizes SSA to disclose quarters of coverage information about the spouse or parent of an alien for purposes of determining the alien 's eligibility under certain Federally funded benefit programs.

Sense of the Congress Concerning the Treatment of Hmong Veterans

Expresses the sense of Congress that, based on their service on behalf of the United States during the Vietnam War, Hmong veterans should be treated like other nonci tizen veterans for purposes of continued elig ibility for assistance benefits.

Advisory Board Personnel

Eliminates the statutory restrictions on the number and type of staff that the Advisory Board is authorized to hire.

Effective as if enacted in the Contract With America Advancement Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-121).