Feds’ ‘Welcome’ Guide for New Immigrants Advises on Public Benefits… in 14 Different Languages


The Obama administration has released an updated welcome guide for new immigrants in the U.S. featuring detailed sections about obtaining public benefits including food stamps, welfare, and Obamacare.

“You or members of your family may be eligible for other federal benefits, depending on your immigration status, length of time in the United States, and income level,” the guidebook reads.

Titled the “Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants” the publication is available in 14 languages: Arabic, English, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese, and two varieties of Chinese.

The guide offers detailed information on the expectations and rights of a permanent resident, tips on settling in the U.S., employment advice, and available public benefits. It also highlights reasons to become a citizen.

“This comprehensive guide contains practical information to help you settle into everyday life in the United States. It also contains basic civics information that introduces you to the U.S. system of government,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains.

USCIS highlighted the release of the updated guidebook last week. Changes to the document include:

-Revised and updated general information on policies, programs and resources;

-A refreshed layout and design;

-A new chapter called “Taking Care of Your Money” on personal finance, taxes and financial scams; and

-A new chapter called “Understanding Education and Health Care” on the education system, adult education programs, and the health insurance marketplace.

The “Understanding Education and Health Care” section offers information about the public school system, English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, financial aid for college, and adult education. Additionally the section delves into healthcare options including Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and accessing the Obamacare marketplaces.

“The Marketplace will allow you to compare certain types of private health insurance plans, get answers to questions, find out if you are eligible for financial support to help pay for the cost of coverage, and enroll in a health care plan that meets your needs,” the guidebook reads. “Permanent residents and certain other people with lawful immigration status may qualify for Marketplace insurance.”

Additionally the guidebook also offers tips on accessing public benefits like food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and other federal benefits accessible at www.benefits.gov.  The section about food stamps advices:

Some immigrants, including children, may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides you with funds to help you buy food at grocery stores. Some states have their own state-funded food assistance programs with different rules for immigrant eligibility that may vary from state to state. For information about SNAP and the eligibility requirements, visit www.fns.usda.gov/snap. Information about SNAP is available in 36 different languages at www.fns.usda.gov/documents- available-other-languages.

The revamped guidebook comes following a recent report from the Center for Immigration Studies revealing that 51 percent of households headed by a legal or illegal immigrant reported using welfare in 2012, compared to 30 percent of native-headed households.

The guides are available for free online, and hard copies are available at the U.S. Government Bookstore.

“Now that you are here, you have a chance to experience everything that life can be in this country. We welcome you as a permanent resident, and we wish you a successful life in the United States,” the document concludes.


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