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Cuban, Haitian immigrants to get benefits

May 12, 2005 at 10:33 AM

MIAMI, May 12 (UPI) -- The Social Security Administration has relaxed its policies to benefit elderly Cuban and Haitian immigrants, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

Eligibility rules have been changed for immigrants who overstayed their visas before becoming legal residents.

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said he was notified of the change by letter Wednesday.

"The decision by Social Security to revise its previous plicy will provide critical, needed help to many needy elderly in our community," Diaz-Balart said.

The change would mean hundreds and maybe thousands of elderly and disabled Cubans and Haitians will soon get monthly checks from the Supplemental Security Income program. Each immigrant could receive up to $579 a month and couples as much as $869.

Some Cuban immigrants were being denied benefits because they had overstayed their visa before becoming legal residents.

Balart and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., both asked for a review of the situation in March. Several court challenges also caught the attention of Social Security officials.

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