My legislation also includes a provision which revisits the legal immigrant policy included in the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-3). The CHIP Reauthorization law overturned language requiring a five-year waiting period before legal immigrants may be eligible federal health coverage. The five year waiting period was included in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193). As my colleagues will recall, the 1996 Welfare Reform Act required sponsors of legal immigrants to be responsible for individuals' expenses during the first five years of residency in our country. States had the option of offering legal immigrants CHIP and Medicaid coverage with state only dollars. In other words, states could not receive federal matching dollars for covering these legal immigrants.
The 2009 CHIP law overturned that policy. Today, states may still cover legal immigrant children and pregnant women who have been in the U.S. less than five years. However, the big difference is states now receive federal matching dollars for covering those individuals.
The provision in the bill I am introducing today would permit states to continue receiving federal matching dollars for covering legal immigrant children and legal immigrant pregnant woman but two conditions must be met. First, the state must demonstrate that it has covered 90% of its U.S. citizen children and pregnant women eligible for CHIP or Medicaid. These individuals' family income may not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Second, the state must demonstrate that it is not supplanting state dollars which were being used to cover legal immigrants prior to passage of the 2009 CHIP reauthorization law with federal dollars.
Another top concern I regularly hear about is identity theft -- that of both adults and children who have to spend a great amount of their time and money to clear their good names and restore their credit history.
In 2006, parents of Utah two-year old Tyler Lybbert realized their daughter's identity had been stolen by 38-year old Jose Tinoco. By the time the Lybberts became aware of the fraud,
Mr. Tinoco had already taken out two loans and opened credit cards – saddling Tyler with over $15,000 in debt. Little Tyler was left holding the bag.
Fortunately, when Mr. Tinoco tried to obtain a loan from a local Utah bank, an employee spotted the discrepancy and alerted Tyler's parents. Mr. Tinoco was caught, but the Lybberts were left with countless hours of work to correct the fraud perpetrated against their child.
This past weekend, the Utah press reported on another identity theft case. A newly married radiology student at Weber State University has been battling to reclaim his identity for the last 15 years. When Cameron Noble was seven years old his Social Security number was stolen by Mr. Jose Zavala of California – an over 60-year-old man.
Noble's parents thought they had corrected the error but when Cameron began working at the age of 16 he started receiving notices that his wages were being garnished to pay child support. The problem has continued to haunt him ever since--in the form of tax withholdings and credit report confusion. He is now nearing the end of the process to obtain a new Social Security number.
It is not a secret that many in the illegal immigrant community perpetuate identity theft with stolen or fabricated Social Security numbers (SSN). The identity theft they commit often affects the very young – who may not notice problems for years or decades until they are old enough to apply for their first job, car or school loan, or credit card.
As in little Tyler Lybberts' case, why did it take a bank employee to pick up on the theft? Because there is no formal system established to alert SSN holders when potential fraud or improper usage have occurred.
The federal agency that is best suited to track the use of mismatched SSN numbers is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That is why my bill requires the IRS to send a notice to an employer that an inaccurate SSN has been discovered for an employee. If the employer does not respond to the notice within 60-days to correct the inaccuracy, my legislation will require the IRS to notify the SSN holder or to parents and guardians of a minor, that a discrepancy has been detected and to do the following: 1) if it is an actual mismatch to contact the IRS; 2) if they suspect fraudulent use, the SSN holder is provided with contact information for the FTC and various credit bureaus to report the problem; and finally 3) if no response is received by the SSN holder, the IRS would be required to refer the account number to appropriate Federal agencies for possible investigation.
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