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AJC Urges Congress to Extend SSI Benefits for Refugees

Outline: AJC urged Congress to act immediately to extend Supplemental Security Income benefits for 3,000 elderly and disabled refugees.

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AJC urged Congress to act immediately to extend Supplemental Security Income benefits for 3,000 elderly and disabled refugees and humanitarian immigrants in the United States whose benefits are due to expire Friday.

Jews who fled oppression in the Soviet Union, victims of sex trafficking, and Kurds who suffered brutally under Saddam Hussein are among those who could lose their benefits.

"After our nation justly welcomed these refugees, it must not now abandon them," said AJC Executive Director David Harris, who commended Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's leadership on this issue. "We trust Congress will move expeditiously to ensure these victims are not forgotten."

While non-citizens do not usually receive Social Security payments, refugees who fled war or were victims of torture were granted exceptions as long as they became U.S. citizens within seven years. However, many were unable to meet that deadline due to their inability to travel, bureaucratic backlogs or prohibitively high fees associated with the citizenship process.

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