Senate bill extends benefits for disabled refugees

AP News
Posted: Oct 17, 2011 7:26 PM
Senate bill extends benefits for disabled refugees

The Senate has voted to extend a program that keeps elderly and disabled refugees eligible for federal benefits, including those who helped American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, sponsor of the bill, said it would prevent some 5,600 disabled refugees granted legal status on humanitarian grounds from losing their benefits. He said it also affects non-citizens who were victims of torture or human trafficking.

A law passed in the 1990s extended monthly Supplemental Security Income benefits to refugees for up to seven years. That was later extended for one year to help those whose age or disability prevented them from passing tests to become citizens within the seven-year period. That one-year extension expired on Oct. 1.

The legislation now goes to the House.