SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home2170. Deeming from a Sponsor to an Alien

2170.1 What is sponsor-to-alien deeming?

The income and resources of an individual who sponsors an alien's entry into the U.S. (by signing an affidavit of support) are considered in determining the alien's eligibility for SSI. The income and resources of the sponsor's spouse are also considered when the spouse is living with the sponsor. This process is called sponsor-to-alien deeming. Deeming applies whether or not the alien lives with the sponsor.

2170.2 What is an affidavit of support?

The sponsor of an alien must sign an affidavit of support, an agreement in which the sponsor promises to provide assistance to the alien. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) (formerly called the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)) currently uses two different types of affidavits:

  1. For aliens who applied for admission to the U.S. (or applied for a change in their immigrant status) prior to December 19, 1997, an unenforceable affidavit (INS Form I-134) was used; and

  2. For aliens applying for admission or change of status on or after December 19, 1997, a new legally enforceable affidavit (INS Form I-864) is generally used. The new affidavits are used only in family situations, including employment-based immigration with family involvement.

Different deeming rules apply to aliens, depending on which type of affidavit their sponsor signed.

2170.3 When does sponsor-to-alien deeming apply?

Deeming applies to all aliens sponsored under the legally enforceable affidavit of support. When the enforceable affidavit is used, deeming continues until the alien becomes a U.S. citizen, or the alien's sponsor dies, or the alien is no longer lawfully admitted the United States for permanent residency (LAPR) and departs the U.S., or obtains 40 work credits. Deeming can be suspended in certain cases, if the alien is subjected to battery or cannot obtain food and shelter.

Deeming also applies to aliens sponsored under the unenforceable affidavit of support, unless:

  1. The alien has been granted asylum by the Attorney General;

  2. The alien is living in the U.S. under color of law and has not been admitted for permanent residence;

  3. The alien filed for SSI prior to October 1, 1980;

  4. The alien is sponsored by an organization; or

  5. The alien becomes blind or disabled after admission for permanent residence. In this case, deeming applies up until the month disability or blindness begins.

2170.4 What income is excluded?

The exclusions that apply to the income of an ineligible spouse or parent listed in §2167.3 do not apply to a sponsor, except for certain types of income excluded by other Federal laws. Allocations are provided for the sponsor, the sponsor's spouse in the same household, and the sponsor's dependents as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. These allocations are subtracted from the income of the sponsor and the living-with spouse to determine the amount of income to deem to the alien.

2170.5 What resources are excluded?

Resources excluded from the resources of an eligible individual are also excluded from the resources of a sponsor. Currently, the balance of countable resources above $2,000 (or $3,000 for a sponsor with a living-with spouse) are deemed to an alien.

Last Revised: Apr. 12, 2010