Many people are concerned with the way in which the federal benefits system is used by various types of people. One of the chief concerns centers on illegal aliens and their eligibility for food stamps and health insurance. Likewise, some wonder why these individuals are required to pay nothing in taxes. Some of the concerns over these topics are based in misinformation about the system. Other concerns could be alleviated if those with concerns would think more fully about the situation facing many illegal aliens.
Illegal aliens and food stamps
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also referred to as SNAP, comprises what many call “food stamps.” While there is concern over undeserving and unlawful immigrants receiving these benefits, the reality is that illegal aliens are not eligible to receive food stamps. In order to receive food stamps, one must apply through the designated method put out by the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the program. There are several categories of non-citizens who can receive these benefits. In every case, though, these people must be deemed lawful to receive the benefits. They go through a lengthy application process to earn the right to these benefits.
Health insurance and illegal aliens
Subsidized health insurance is largely not an option for illegal aliens. Under the Affordable Care Act, these aliens are not eligible for financial assistance, so if they want to buy insurance, they have to pay full price. In most cases, this means that they are unable to get it. Likewise, the children of undocumented aliens are not eligible for coverage in most states. Five states make exceptions for these individuals. A small number of illegal aliens will get insurance coverage through their employers, and a few who attend college get coverage through their university health plans.
On the whole, illegal aliens are closed off from traditional insurance. Even Medicare and Medicaid are not available to those who are in the country without authorization. This means that most will go to community health clinics and emergency rooms to get the assistance they need. It is a misunderstanding of the system to suggest that illegal aliens take advantage of government-provided healthcare. In most cases this simply is not true.
Illegal aliens and taxes
While it is true that illegal aliens typically do not pay income taxes, they also do not get to take advantage of the benefits that come with those taxes, including subsidized healthcare and various unemployment protections. However, one should not suggest that these individuals pay nothing in taxes. They pay sales tax on everything they purchase. Generally speaking, this tax is a heavy burden on the poor. In addition, their employers pay taxes on the productivity the employees bring to the table.