522.4 Verification

The household has the primary responsibility for providing proof of immigration status for all household members applying for SNAP.

Non-citizens who are lawfully present in the U.S. generally have documents issued by USCIS that have the individual's immigration status and the date the individual entered the U.S. or adjusted to the status shown on the document.

The CAO must verify the eligible status of non-citizens. If a non-citizen does not want the CAO to contact USCIS, the household has the option of withdrawing its application or participating in the SNAP program without that member.   

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(ii)

Appendix A 1 lists acceptable USCIS documents and the provision of law that must appear on each document.  Samples of USCIS documents are in Appendix B

The Qualified Non-citizen - SNAP Eligibility Chart in Appendix A 2 lists the categories of LPR's who may qualify for benefits.  It also lists SNAP eligibility criteria.  

 7 CFR § 273.4(a)

Non-citizens other than those described in Appendix A 2 may not receive benefits.  See 522.34, Ineligible Non-Citizens.

522.41 Verifying Immigration Status

PFS 18486-522, Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) – Upload and Attach Secondary Verification, May 16, 2017   

Non-citizens who are lawfully present in the U.S. generally have documents issued by the DHS which have information about the individual's immigration status and the date the individual entered the country or adjusted to the status shown on the card.

Each non-citizen registered with the USCIS gets a registration number.  USCIS needs this number, also called the Alien Number, A-number or file number.  The CAO records the number in the case record.   

The most common documents used to verify alien status include, but are not limited to, the following:

The CAO must verify the immigration status of each non-citizen and put a copy (both front and back) of the document in the case record.  USCIS documentation is preferable but it is okay to accept other proof such as a court order.  The CAO must also verify the validity of documents presented through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program.  See the Supplemental Handbook, Chapter 740, SAVE Procedures.  

 7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(ii)(A)

 A non-citizen is ineligible for SNAP benefits until he or she provides acceptable verification of immigration status unless:

Do not reject an application when documentation is questionable and the only unverified eligibility factor is immigration status.  Hold the application until SAVE documentation is received. 

522.411 Victims of Trafficking

Victims of trafficking do not have to provide documentation of immigration status.  The CAO must:

1.  Accept the Letter of Certification for adults or an Interim Assistance Letter or Eligibility Letter for children under age 18 from ORR in place of USCIS documentation.  Do not use the SAVE system to verify eligibility for SNAP.  See Appendices J, K and L for sample letters:

2.  Place a photocopy of the Letter of Certification, Interim Assistance Letter or Eligibility Letter for children in the case record.  Return the original to the applicant.

3.  Note the entry date.  The entry date is the certification date which appears in the body of the letter.

4.  Call the Trafficking Victim Verification Line at 1-866-401-5510 before issuing benefits to:

5.  Record the expiration date of the Certification or Eligibility Letter to determine when to review eligibility


522.412  Battered Non-Citizens

A battered non-citizen is a qualified alien if he or she meets one of the following requirements:

First Requirement:  The individual has appropriate USCIS status defined as:

Second Requirement:  The applicant, the applicant's child or the non-citizen child's parent was abused in the U.S. under one of the following circumstances:

Third Requirement:  There is a substantial connection between the battery or extreme cruelty and the need for public benefits.  For example, the non-citizen needs benefits to:


The non-citizen needs benefits because:


Fourth Requirement:  The battered non-citizen, child or parent does not reside in the same household as the abuser.  Credible evidence to support this claim includes:

NOTE:  Do not contact the abuser for any verification or documentation of living arrangements, factors of eligibility or any other reason.

The CAO does not need to verify battering if the non-citizen battered spouse is a veteran or current member of the U.S. Armed Forces.


When verifying battering of a spouse or child, one type or source of verification is acceptable.  If a battered victim shelter verifies the

 battering either through collateral contact or in writing, no further verification is required.


The noncitizen member is not eligible until he or she proves eligible USCIS status. The noncitizen's resources and a prorated share of any of his or her income are considered available to any remaining household members. See Chapter 555, Deeming Income and Resources.  

 7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(ii)(B)

522.42 USCIS Contact

The CAO must inform the local USCIS whenever the CAO verifies that a SNAP household member is ineligible because he or she is in violation of the INA.  

 7 CFR § 273.4(b)(1)

NOTE:  A SAVE response showing no service record on an individual or an immigration status making the individual ineligible for a benefit is not a finding of fact or conclusion of law that the individual is not lawfully present.

The CAO may not contact the USCIS to verify immigration status:  

 7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(ii)

522.43 Verifying Qualifying Quarters of Work

The CAO must take the following steps to verify quarters of work:  

  7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(ii)

1.  Require the non-citizen to show a USCIS card that documents entry date into the U.S. and the condition under which admitted.  Military I.D. for active duty or a DD214 for veterans may also be required.

2.  Ask the applicant for the full name, SSN, date of birth, and sex of each individual (self, parent, spouse) whose work history is relevant.

3.  Have each individual, other than the applicant, sign a Consent for Release of Information (Form SSA- 3288) giving the Social Security Administration (SSA) permission to release information to the CAO through IEVS (See Appendix D).

4.  Require additional verification, such as a W-2 form, income tax return, or pay statement, if SSA information indicates a lag in the number of quarters worked. Wage information provided yearly to the SSA by employers may not be in the SSA system yet.  The application may be pended, meaning no decision yet, or denied for the application month depending on whether verification arrives within normal reporting time frames for SNAP households.


522.431  Establishing 40 Qualifying Quarters of Coverage

Qualifying quarters of coverage may be considered for:

  7 CFR § 273.4(a)(6)(H)(ii)(A)

Do not consider any quarter after December 31, 1996 during which a non-citizen, parent or spouse received a Federal means-tested benefit (such as SSI) as a qualifying quarter of coverage.

If applicable, credit a non-citizen with qualifying quarters from a combination of spouse and/or parents. 

Release information provided by SSA to the non-citizen if requested.


522.432  Missing Quarter or Unreported Wages

If the SSA reports that a non-citizen has less than 40 qualifying quarters of coverage but the non-citizen believes he or she should be credited with additional unreported earnings, the CAO must refer the non-citizen to the SSA for an investigation to establish those earnings.   

 7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(ii)

SSA issues Form SSA-5058 PC (See Appendix F) with the non-citizen's name, address and date issued to document the investigation.  The CAO must file this form in the case record.  The non-citizen may get benefits for up to six months during the investigation.

SSA does not provide qualifying quarters information on income earned in a foreign country.  The U.S. has international agreements under which workers may qualify for partial U.S. social security benefits based on combined work credits.  See Appendix E for a list of countries and effective dates of their agreements.


522.433 Discrepancies or Non-Lag Quarters

When the non-citizen or person whose qualifying quarters of coverage are being credited to the non-citizen disagrees with the SSA inquiry results, the disagreement must be resolved.

  7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(ii)

If the person believes the work performed was in covered or reported employment and the earnings do not fall in a lag quarter, SSA is responsible for investigating the discrepancy and correcting the record.  

NOTE:  A lag quarter is a quarter in the current year or the year before.  These quarters may not show up in credit history because SSA has not processed them yet.  Non-lag quarters are quarters before the current year or the year before the current year.

If Code # or Z appears in a quarter and the applicant does not meet the 40 qualifying quarters of coverage without the quarter, contact SSA as follows:

1.  If the discrepancy is due to multiple SSNs or others using the person’s SSN, refer the person to the local SSA office or have them call 1-800-772-1213 for an appointment. Give the non-citizen a copy of the SSA report of qualifying quarters of coverage.  Tell him or her to take the report and proof of earnings to the SSA appointment.

Give the non-citizen a copy of the SSA report of qualifying quarters of coverage.  Tell them to take the report and proof of earnings to the SSA appointment.

2.  If the discrepancy in the SSA report is Code Z for 1978 or later, tell the applicant whose SSN is involved to ask for a correction of earnings using Form SSA-7008 (Request for Correction of Earnings Record). A separate form is needed if there are multiple SSNs that need investigated.

Attach proof of earnings such as:

Write “welfare reform” on the top of Form SSA-7008.  If the applicant is not the number holder, tell the applicant that the number holder must complete Form SSA-7008 and attach proof of earnings.

 Mail the request along with the necessary documentation to:

P.O. Box
Baltimore, Maryland

If documentation is not available, the applicant should contact a local SSA office or call 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment.

3.  If the discrepancy is Code Z for 1977 or earlier or a # sign anywhere in the SSA report, have the non-citizen SSN holder contact SSA at 1-800-772-1213. 

If the non-citizen is not the number holder, and documentation is not available, refer the individual to the local SSA office or have them call 1-800-772-1213.

Make a second SSA qualifying quarters of coverage inquiry 45 days after the original request if follow-up is necessary.  If Code Z is overlaid with an N or C, the entry was updated.  If the pattern is not updated after 60 days, call the SSA-OCRO Earnings Discrepancy Division at 1-800-775-7802





Reissued October 7, 2014, replacing March 1, 2012