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Junior Member
My mother in law came here to the USA from the Philippines. After 15 years of going through all the steps. First restricted residency. Residency. And now full citizenship, I needed to find some sort of health insurance for her. I could not add her to my insurance from my work. This is for spouses and dependent children only. She is 73 years old, but has not worked the required 7 years in the USA to qualify for medicare. I did discover she was eligible for Alabama medicaid. In the process of talking to many different government agencies we were invited to apply for SSI, and food stamps (snap). All of these were approved for her because she has no income.
Now my question: I hear a lot in the news about deportation of folks that become a public charge. As her sponsor I had to agree to be responsible for her. In your best legal opinion, is it safe for her to continue receiving these assistance? Would any of these put her continued citizenship at risk? Can her citizenship be revoked? What do you advice?
Thank You.


Senior Member
She is a US citizen. She isn't going to be deported.
I agree, however I will also add that I think that your sponsorship ended when she became a US citizen.

I know its scary reading about US citizens who have been deported, but the claim is that those people got citizenship fraudulently. I am not comfortable however that the claim is entirely true.


I'm a Northern Girl
Even if she does qualify for Medicare, though, and the OP says she does not meet the requirements, you can't just buy it at any time. There are specific Open Enrollment periods and you have to wait for one of them.


Junior Member
A person must work a minimum of 7 years in the US the be eligible for social security or Medicare. Medicare part D is an exception. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is also. The web sight t74 sent me to also verifies this.
Anyway my question was about her receiving benefits putting her right to stay in the US at risk. You have answered this question in a easy to understand fashion. Thank you for your assist! Warm regards.


I'm a Northern Girl
Just for the record, in the US it is so rare that you can cover any dependents but spouses and dependent children on your health insurance that it would be quite safe to say it doesn't happen. There can be exceptions for children (nieces, nephews, grandchildren) if the employee has a court-ordered guardianship but parents, no. Not even if they are tax dependents.


How has she been surviving if she has no income? Have you or others been assisting her financially? Is anyone claiming her as a dependent on taxes? Is she living with someone - especially without contributing to household expenses? While she may not be receiving income from work or investments, I suspect she has items that are considered when she applies for benefits.

I cannot speak to the rules in AL. Where I live, income for the applicant for means tested benefits (such as these you list) includes not only the individual's assets and income but also those of the household in which the person lives or, if living independently but funded by family, the household providing the support. I find it hard to believe she has been surviving without income, assets, or support from others while she has not been providing for herself. Note that gifts count towards income and can disqualify a person for a time from receiving benefits for a period of time.


Senior Member
It varies by state but in my state, PA, there are filial support laws, in effect one can be required to support ones parents.

I've met a good number of people well into 70s and 80s still working ...so if Mom is short a few quarters to qualify for some important benefit then getting even a modest job may do the trick?

Apparently AL does not have a law that requires that one support his or her parents.
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