FACT CHECK: Are DACA Recipients Eligible For Federal Benefits?

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David Sivak Fact Check Editor
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Conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham claimed Tuesday that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era immigration program, grants recipients access to federal benefits.

Verdict: True

DACA recipients can participate in Social Security and Medicare, and lower income DACA recipients may claim a major tax credit. They are still ineligible, however, for most forms of welfare including food stamps and Medicaid.

Fact Check:

Since the Obama administration created DACA in 2012, nearly 800,000 illegal immigrants under the age of 31 have received a two-year delay on deportation action and the ability to work legally in the U.S.

Amid days of speculation that President Donald Trump would rescind the program, Ingraham claimed on Twitter that, in addition to work permits, DACA provides recipients with access to federal benefits.

Illegal immigrants are ineligible for most public benefits according to federal law, including means-tested programs like Medicaid, food stamps and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Notable exceptions include emergency medical care and federal disaster relief.

But DACA allows recipients to apply for social security numbers, which are required to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a major tax benefit for lower-income earners. The program allows recipients to participate in Social Security and Medicare as well, but they generally cannot receive benefits until retirement age.

Generally speaking, DACA recipients are still ineligible for many forms of public assistance. Nonetheless, the program does expand access to some federal benefits.

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