Information on administering Public Benefits in Georgia
As mandated by the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act of 2006 (Section 9) and House Bill 2 (here) from the 2009 Georgia legislative session. Please see Georgia Code 50-36-1 here.
Georgia AG 2009 opinion on the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act of 2006 (GSICA) and local government's required compliance here.
Section 9 of the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act of 2006 requires all state agencies that administer "public benefits" to obtain a sworn affidavit (see sample affidavit below) from all applicants for public benefits regarding citizenship and/or lawful presence/alien status.
Any applicant indicating non-citizen status must enter his/her Alien Number - assigned by the federal government - on the affidavit.
All non-citizens eligibility for public benefits must be verified using the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database.
USE OF THE AFFIDAVIT IS NOT OPTIONAL. IT MUST BE COMPLETED AND SIGNED BY THE APPLICANT FOR BENEFITS AND COLLECTED REGARDLESS OF AGENCY'S STATUS CONCERNING SAVE MOU/AUTHORITY. THIS MANDATE INCLUDES APPLICATIONS FOR RENEWAL OF ANY PUBLIC BENEFIT.
NOTE! Georgia Code 13-10-90 (Section 2 of GSICA) mandates use of the federal employment verification database 'E-Verify' (which is a part of the SAVE program but not used to verify public benefits eligibility) to verify newly hired employees' eligibility to work in the U.S. This is a separate mandate and will produce a separate agreement - MOA/MOU with the federal government.
Possessing E-Verify user authority does not address or fulfill the requirements in 50-36-10, which are directed at public benefits...not employment verification.
"(A) any grant, contract, loan, professional license, or commercial license provided by an agency of a State or local government or by appropriated funds of a State or local government; and
(B) any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of a State or local government or by appropriated funds of a State or local government."
Public Benefits are further detailed and defined in Georgia code and are listed below.
When a state or local government agency representative registers for authority to use the SAVE system - and before it is able to obtain a user agreement (a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the federal government to verify applicants' eligibility for various public benefits, that representative must choose which public benefits the agency administers to obtain authority to verify applicants eligibility for those specific benefits.
Many Georgia municipalities and counties will have multiple agencies that are administering public benefits. Examples, Business Licenses, Housing Authority, Board of Education, Section 8 Housing. Each agency administering any Public Benefits listed below is required under the Act to register with and use SAVE to insure applicant's eligibility.
Sign up for the SAVE Program.
The registration process for the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program is a three-step process for new agencies.
The steps are:
STEP 1 - Sign up
STEP 2 - Review and Sign Agreements
STEP 3 - Obtain Access
Below is a list of current Public Benefits clarified in Georgia law.
Note...if the user were to select only "Community Transportation" - that agency could not be within the federal regulations to verify applicant's eligibility for "Rent Assistance" or any of the other benefits listed. It is very important to register correctly and accurately.
'Public benefit' means a federal benefit as defined in 8 U.S.C. Section 1611, a state or local benefit as defined in 8 U.S.C. Section 1621, a benefit identified as a public benefit by the Attorney General of Georgia, or a public benefit which shall include the following:
Authorization to conduct a commercial enterprise or business
Business certificate, license, or registration
Disability assistance or insurance
Down payment assistance
Housing allowance, grant, guarantee, or loan
Professional license Registration of a regulated business
Rent assistance or subsidy
State grant or loan
State identification card
Tax certificate required to conduct a commercial business
Temporary assistance for needy families (TANF)
and Welfare to work.
Affidavit Verifying Eligibility Status of Public Benefit Applicant
Pursuant to the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act of 2006 (Senate Bill 529 - GSICA), every agency administering or providing Public Benefits is responsible for determining U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status of applicants for said benefits. (Ga. Code 50-36-1)
By executing this affidavit under oath, as an applicant for a Public Benefit - or renewal of benefits - I am stating the following with respect to my application for benefits from
______________________________ [INSERT AGENCY NAME]:
_______ I am a United States citizen or legal permanent resident 18 years of age or older;
_______ I am a qualified alien or non-immigrant under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act 18 years of age or older and lawfully present in the United States.
My Alien number is:___________________
In making the above representation under oath, I understand that any person who knowingly and willfully makes a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation in an affidavit shall be guilty of a violation of Code Section 16-10-20 of the Official Code of Georgia.
Signature of Applicant
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN
BEFORE ME ON THIS THE
____ DAY OF ____________, 20__
My Commission Expires: _____________________________