Citizenship and Residency FAQs
To obtain full Medicaid benefits in Georgia, you must be a Georgia resident and either a U.S. citizen or a legally residing non-citizen. Non-citizens (residing legally or illegally) can qualify for coverage for emergencies and labor and delivery services if income requirements are met.
Does Medicaid report non-United States (U.S.) citizens to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)?
No. The Medicaid program does not report citizenship information to the USCIS.
Can children of non-U.S. citizens get Medicaid?
If the children are U.S. citizens and meet the program eligibility requirements, they can receive Medicaid.
Do non-U.S. citizens who are applying for Medicaid for their U.S.-born children have to prove citizen or legal residency status?
No. If the person applying is not a U.S citizen and is applying for Medicaid for U.S.-born children, they are not required to provide proof of their citizenship status.
Do non-U.S. citizens need a Social Security Number if they are applying for their child who is a U.S. citizen?
No. If non-U.S. citizens apply for Medicaid for a U.S. born child, they do not have to give their Social Security Number. The child’s Social Security Number must be provided, or the applicant must show proof that they have applied for a number for the child.
What is Refugee Medical Assistance?
The Refugee Medical Assistance program is for those who are classified as refugees by the USCIS and are not eligible for any other type of Medicaid. Refugee Assistance is good only for the first eight months after an individual arrives in the U.S.
What is Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA)?
Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA) pays for medical costs for an emergency medical condition (e.g. cost of childbirth, labor and delivery, stabilization) after you have received the medical services. You cannot be approved for EMA in advance. Non-U.S. citizens who are not eligible for Medicaid may be eligible for EMA. Applicants are not required to provide a Social Security Number or documentation of immigration status.
Are interpreters available?
A person who has difficulty speaking or understanding English or who is hearing impaired and is not able to communicate effectively with county DFCS staff has the right to an interpreter. The cost of the interpreter will be paid by the county DFCS office. The county office must provide an interpreter to you if you need one. Individuals may bring also bring a bilingual friend or relative.
Who does NOT have to provide additional Citizenship and Identity documentation?
Verification of Citizenship and Identity is NOT required for:
- Newborns whose mother was enrolled in Medicaid on the child’s date of birth;
- Newborns whose mother files an application and is determined eligible for Emergency Medical Assistance;
- Children receiving Foster Care or Subsidized Adoption assistance under Title IV part E;
- Children for whom child welfare services are made available under Title IV part B;
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients;
- Individuals who are eligible for Medicare;
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients. (Those recipients who receive disability insurance benefits under section 223 or monthly insurance benefits under section 202 based on the individual's disability); and
- Refugees, people who have legally sought asylum and other qualified aliens.
Why must I declare that I am a citizen or a national of the United States?
Before enactment of this provision, in order to qualify for Medicaid, the applicant had to declare under penalty of perjury that he or she was a citizen or national of the United States and if not a citizen or national, that the individual was in a satisfactory immigration status. Individuals who declared they were citizens did not have to do anything else to support that claim, although some States did require documentary evidence of such a claim. Individuals who declared they were aliens in a satisfactory immigration status were required to provide documentary evidence of that claim in every state. The new provision requires that the state obtain satisfactory documentation of citizenship. Under the new law, simply declaring your identity and that you are a U.S. citizen is no longer an acceptable practice.
What do we mean by “Declare to be a citizen or national of the United States”?
This means that you affirmatively state that you were born in the U.S. or in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, or American Samoa and Swain’s Island or if you were not born in the U.S., you have become a naturalized citizen.
What is meant by “satisfactory documentary evidence of citizenship”?
This means you must present to your Medicaid agency documents that show you are a citizen of the U.S. and that you are the person you claim to be. To establish U.S. citizenship the document must show that you were born in the U.S. or that you are a naturalized U.S. citizen. To establish your identity the document must provide identifying information for the person named on the document. For naturalized citizens, a copy of your naturalization certificate will be sufficient if the picture on the certificate is clear and readable.
What if I don’t have a birth certificate or driver’s license?
DFCS can accept a number of alternative documents that will establish your citizenship or identity. If you don’t have and cannot get documentary evidence of citizenship, you should explain your situation to your Medicaid office as soon as you apply. The Medicaid agency will then explain what alternatives you may use and what assistance can be provided.
If I had my citizenship documented when I applied for Medicaid, will I have to document my citizenship again?
No. Generally you will not have to repeat documentation after July 1, 2006 if the Medicaid Agency documented your citizenship before that date and has a record of it.
May I bring copies of documents that prove I am a citizen?
Yes. States are not permitted to accept copies of satisfactory documentary evidence that you are a citizen.