Food Stamps

1105.010.20.20 Exemptions to Deeming

IM-#36 April 22, 2010,  IM-#61 June 27, 2007  IM-#103 October 4, 2004,  IM-#56 April 18, 2003

Sponsor deeming does not apply to the following:

  • IMMIGRANT WHOSE SPONSOR HAS NOT SIGNED A LEGALLY BINDING AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT: These are sponsors who signed an Affidavit of Support (I-864 or I-864A) 12/18/97 or earlier. The affidavit is not legally enforceable.
  • IMMIGRANTS WITHOUT SPONSORS: This category may include, but is not limited to, refugees, asylees, deportees, Amerasians, and Cuban/Haitian entrants. These individuals may be “sponsored” by an organization such as a church, but an I-864 Affidavit of Support is not signed.
  • BATTERED SPOUSE OR CHILD EXEMPTION: Deeming does not apply during any 12-month period if a battered spouse, battered child or parent, or child of a battered person providing these immigrants live in a separate EU from the individual responsible for the battery. The exemption can be extended for an additional 12-month period. Contact Food Stamp Program & Policy for these situations.
  • SPONSOR IN SAME FOOD STAMP EU: Deeming does not apply when sponsors live in the same Food Stamp EU as the sponsored immigrant. If the sponsor receives Food Stamps in another EU, then deeming does apply.
  • INELIGIBLE MEMBER: If the sponsored immigrant is ineligible for Food Stamps because of immigration status, do not deem the sponsor’s resources or income to other eligible members of the Food Stamp EU.NOTE: If an immigrant is ineligible due to a disqualification, is sanctioned or is an ineligible student, deem the sponsor’s income to the immigrant and follow current prorating policy to determine the amount counted for the rest of the EU.
  • CHILDREN UNDER AGE 18: Deeming does not apply when the sponsored immigrant is under age 18.
  • IMMIGRANTS WHOSE DEEMING PERIOD HAS ENDED: The Affidavit of Support remains in effect until the sponsored immigrant either:
    • becomes a naturalized citizen;
    • can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters;
    • is no longer an LPR and leaves the United States permanently; or
    • until the sponsor or the sponsored immigrant is deceased.
  • INDIGENT EXEMPTION: Consider an immigrant “indigent” if the sum of the EU’s own income plus any cash or in-kind assistance provided by the sponsor or others is less than 130% of federal poverty income. Refer to the Basis of Issuance Tables and look up the Limit Maximum Gross Income for the EU size, or refer to the Reporting Requirements chart for the EU size. Each indigent determination is effective for 12 months. If the immigrant is exempt from deeming due to indigence, the immigrant must be reported to the Attorney General of the US. The immigrant will face no negative consequence from USCIS for receiving Food Stamp benefits. If the immigrant does not wish to be exempt from deeming due to indigence so s/he won’t be reported to the Attorney General, s/he can opt to have the sponsor’s income and resources deemed to his EU. Explain that deeming the income and resources may cause an EU to be eligible for fewer Food Stamp benefits, or may cause the EU to not be eligible. If the immigrant chooses to be indigent, notify the Food Stamp Program & Policy Unit and include the names of both the sponsor and the sponsored immigrant.NOTE: Apply all other exemptions prior to indigence.