Wednesday, October 08, 2008

SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Goes Into Effect

Bipartisan Act Began October 1; However, Implementation Process Still Needs to Be Put in Place

Release by SERAC: Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

October 6, 2008

Washington, DC – On September 30, 2008, the President signed the Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act
which provides an additional two years of SSI for elderly and disabled refugees who have been cut off
from their SSI benefits because of the seven year time limit for refugees and other
humanitarian immigrants. This two-year SSI extension is set to expire in 2011.

The law was effective starting on October 1, 2008. However, please note that there is
not yet a process in place to implement this two year extension. This means that eligible
individuals will not yet be able to immediately receive this extension, but SEARAC will
be sure to announce when a process is in place and what eligible individuals need to do.

For many elderly and disabled refugees and other humanitarian immigrants, including
Hmong and Montagnards who fought honorably alongside American soldiers in times of
war, SSI provides the very basic means for survival. The SSI program pays minimal
monthly benefits to elderly and disabled adults and children who are low income and
have limited resources to maintain self sufficiency.

“This extension is a positive step to ensuring that elderly and disabled refugees are not
thrown into destitution, due in large part, to the barriers that they experience in attaining
their citizenship and ultimately losing their SSI after seven years,” states Doua Thor,
Executive Director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

SEARAC commends the advocacy efforts of numerous national advocacy organizations,
local community partners and congressional offices, including sponsors, Senator Smith
(R-OR), Senator Kohl (D-WI), Congressmen McDermott (D-WA) and Congressman
(R-IL) as well as their staff in leading this cause.

For more information, please contact Helly Lee at 202-667-4690 or