Haitian individuals who have applied for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may be eligible for public health insurance in New York State.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible individuals of a certain country designated by the Department of Homeland Security because serious temporary conditions in that country, such as armed conflict or environmental disaster, prevents people from that country to return safely. On January 21, 2010 the United States determined that individuals from Haiti warranted TPS because of the devastating earthquake that occurred there on January 12. TPS gives undocumented Haitian residents, who were living in the U.S. on January 12, 2010, protection from forcible deportation and allows them to work legally. It is important to note that the U.S. grants TPS to individuals from other countries, as well, including individuals from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia and Sudan.
TPS and Public Health Insurance
TPS applicants residing in New York are eligible for Medicaid and Family Health Plus as long as they also meet the income requirements for these programs. In New York, applicants for TPS are considered PRUCOL immigrants (Permanently Residing Under Color of Law) for purposes of medical assistance eligibility and thus meet the immigration status requirements for Medicaid, Family Health Plus, and the Family Planning Benefit Program. Nearly all children in New York remain eligible for Child Health Plus including TPS applicants and children who lack immigration status. For more information on immigrant eligibility for public health insurance in New York see 08 GIS MA/009 and the attached chart.
Where to Apply
What to Bring
Individuals who have applied for TPS will need to bring several documents to prove their eligibility for public health insurance. Individuals will need to bring:
1) Proof of identity;
2) Proof of residence in New York;
3) Proof of income;
4) Proof of application for TPS;
5) Proof that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received the application for TPS.
Free Communication Assistance
All applicants for public health insurance, including Haitian Creole speakers, have a right to get help in a language they can understand. All Medicaid offices and enrollers are required to offer free translation and interpretation services to anyone who cannot communicate effectively in English. A bilingual worker or an interpreter, whether in-person or over the telephone, must be provided in all interactions with the office. Important documents, such as Medicaid applications, should be translated either orally or in writing. Interpreter services must be offered free of charge, and applicants requiring interpreter services must not be made to wait unreasonably longer than English speaking applicants. An applicant must never be asked to bring their own interpreter.
Related Resources on TPS and Public Health Insurance
o The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) has compiled a list of agencies, law firms, and law schools responding to the tragedy in Haiti and the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status. A copy of the list is posted at the NYIC’s website at http://www.thenyic.org.
o For information on eligibility for public health insurance programs call The Legal Aid Society’s Health Law Unit on Tuesdays at 212-577-3575 or 888-500-2455.
Jenny Rejeske, Health Advocacy Coordinator, New York Immigration Coalition
Lisa Sbrana, Health Law Attorney, Legal Aid Society
Barbara Weiner, Senior Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center (for help outside New York City)
Printable Fact Sheets for Distribution
This article was co-authored by the New York Immigration Coalition, Empire Justice Center and the Health Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society. 1/29/10, updated 3/1/10