How can I sponsor my spouse if I get welfare? 2 Answers as of May 18, 2011

I am a U.S. citizen, got my green card on 1991, and become a U.S. citizen on 1998. I received my Ph.D. degree in 2003, and become disabled in 2005. I got food stamps and Medicaid 4 yrs ago and SSI just last year. I meet a girl on the Internet, and we fall in love. She is going to come to U.S. in a month. We were going to live in a cheap room share bathroom and kitchen with others. Can she get SSI, Food Stamps and Medicaid when she arrives? She is from Russia. Also if we get married, can I support her for green card, because I don't have other income besides $761 monthly SSI and $200 food stamps? Please help. Thanks.

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World Esquire Law Firm
World Esquire Law Firm | Aime Katambwe
As a USC you can always petition for your wife. However, you cannot sponsor your wife into the US if you are getting welfare and you want her to get welfare as well from the day she gets in. This is the perfect definition of a public charge. The least she can do is work to support the both of you when she is able to do so. You cannot do it for yourself and that's fine. USCIS will not hold that against you, but it will want someone else to step in and with you and file the I-864 Affidavit of Support guaranteeing that your wife will not become a public charge. They will have to that for 40 work weeks. I respectfully suggest you abandon any hope that the US government will support your wife as it does you. Here is to your wife, you getting better and finding creative employment under your circumstances. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/18/2011
Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
First, your girlfriend, if you marry, cannot be eligible for direct welfare aid, only through your eligibility as a member of your household, for five years, after obtaining legal residency. Second, you can use the assistance of other co-sponsors to sponsor her in an I-864 Affidavit of Support, and you can use Social Security income, but not SSI. You can use food stamps as part of income. However, her coming in with a tourist visa followed by marrying you will give the appearance of fraud, since the B-1/B-2 travel visa is given with the understanding she would return, not that she would come with the intent of permanently living in the USA.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/18/2011
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