The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 makes adults eligible for Food Stamp benefits to the same extent as refugees (see 1105.010.10.15 Refugees, Amerasians, Asylees, Cuban/Haitian Entrants, and Deportees) if they have been certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as victims of severe forms of trafficking.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 has been expanded to include the minor children, spouses, and in some cases the parent and siblings of victims of severe trafficking.
These individuals do not have to meet the 5-year waiting period. Enter TRA (victims of trafficking) for the status code and the appropriate verification code on the Non-Citizen Information (FMML) screen. Record a comment regarding when the verification was received and any other information not contained on the Non-Citizen (FMML) screen.
Children under 18 years of age are not issued a certification letter, but are issued a different letter by ORR stating that the child is a victim of a severe form of trafficking. The child’s status must be verified by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by the contacting the HHS trafficking victims verification toll free number (866-401-5510).
Use the following guidelines for victims of severe forms of trafficking:
- Victims of severe forms of trafficking are not required to provide any documentation of their immigration status other than the certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Call the trafficking verification line at (866-401-5510) to confirm the validity of the certification letter and to inform Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the benefits for which a victim has applied. Do not contact SAVE concerning victims of severe forms of trafficking. Make a copy of the certification letter and file it in the case record. Return the original to the immigrant. Accept only the original certification letter to determine eligibility for Food Stamp benefits. Do not accept any other explanatory letters. A copy of the certification letter is attached to IM-133 September 7, 2000, dated 07/24/01.
- Certification letters for adults and eligibility letters for children show an entry date (date of certification). The original certification letters showed an eight-month expiration date. As of November 6, 2001, certification letters for adults and eligibility letters for children no longer contain expiration dates. For individuals certified before November 6, 2001, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) will issue recertification letters without expiration dates. The recertification letters will contain a lowercase “r” beside the Health and Human Services (HHS) tracking number. The entry date (certification date on the letter) for individuals for refugee purposes does not change with the recertification letter.
- If an individual presents an expired certification letter when applying for benefits or if the worker attempts to do an eligibility re-determination and finds that a certification letter has expired, call the ORR trafficking verification line for assistance.
- Issue benefits to the same extent as a refugee, provided the victim of severe forms of trafficking meets other program eligibility criteria, such as income and resource levels. The entry date is the certification date on the letter from the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Applicants under the provision of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 are not required to provide Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Do not disqualify a victim of trafficking for failure to apply for or provide an SSN. If the individual is no longer eligible under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, explore eligibility using other eligible immigrant criteria before closing the Food Stamp case or removing the individual(s) from the Food Stamp EU.