5101:1-2-30.1 Benefit eligibility: victims of trafficking.

(A) The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, Public Law No. 106-386, Division A, 114 Statute 1464 (2000) makes victims of severe forms of trafficking eligible for benefits and services to the same extent as an alien who is admitted to the United States (U.S.) as a refugee under Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (1997).

(1) Adult victims of severe forms of trafficking shall be certified by the U.S. department of health and human services (HHS).

(2) Individuals under age eighteen who are victims of severe forms of trafficking do not need to be certified.

(B) Definition Under Section 103(8) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the term "severe forms of trafficking in persons" means:

(1) Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained eighteen years of age; or,

(2) The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

(C) Certification determinations

The office of refugee resettlement (ORR) within HHS will make certification determinations and issue notarized letters of certification for adult victims of severe forms of trafficking. Children under eighteen years of age who are determined to have been subjected to a severe form of trafficking do not need to be certified in order to receive benefits. ORR will issue notarized letters, similar to adult certification letters, stating that a child is a victim of a severe form of trafficking. Only the ORR certification letter or eligibility letter for children shall be accepted as proof of certification under this rule.

(1) Certification letters for adults and eligibility letters for children shall not contain expiration dates.

(2) Expired letters are reissued by the ORR with a lowercase "r" beside the HHS tracking number confirming that the individual continues to meet certification requirements.

(D) County department of job and family services (CDJFS) procedure

The CDJFS shall:

(1) Accept the original certification letter or eligibility letter for children in place of the citizenship and immigration service (CIS) documentation and retain a copy in the case file. Victims of severe forms of trafficking are not required to provide any other immigration documents to receive benefits.

(2) Call the trafficking verification telephone line to confirm the validity of the certification letter before providing benefits. During the verification telephone call, the CDJFS shall notify the ORR of the benefits for which the victim of trafficking has applied.

The systematic alien verification for entitlements (SAVE) system does not contain information about victims of severe forms of trafficking. The CDJFS shall not contact the SAVE system to confirm eligibility for benefits.

(3) Confirm identity. Benefits shall not be automatically denied if the individual is unable to provide verification of identity. The CDJFS shall call the trafficking verification telephone number for assistance.

(4) Assist in obtaining a social security number. The CDJFS shall not delay, deny, or discontinue assistance to any eligible applicant because he or she does not have a social security number. If an individual is required to provide or apply for a social security number for another benefit program, such as medicaid, Ohio works first (OWF), or food stamps; or the victim of severe forms of trafficking does not yet have or is unable to obtain a social security number for work purposes, the individual shall:

(a) Complete the SS-5, "Social Security Administration Application for a Social Security Card" form;

(b) Provide all department of homeland security (DHS) documents;

(c) Provide a passport; and

(d) Provide a state identification card or driver's license.

(5) Once the certification letter or eligibility letter for children is received and the validity of the document is verified by calling the trafficking verification line, the CDJFS shall note the individual's "entry date" for refugee benefit purposes. The entry date is the date of certification. The certification date appears in the body of the certification eligibility letter or letter for children.

(6) Determine eligibility or redetermine eligibility in accordance with the appropriate program rules. If an individual presents an expired certification letter when applying for benefits or when a redetermination is being completed and the CDJFS finds that a certification letter has expired, the agency shall call the ORR toll-free trafficking verification line at (866) 401-5510 for assistance.

(7) Issue benefits. If the applicant meets other program eligibility criteria (e.g., income levels), the individual shall receive benefits and services to the same extent as a refugee.

(E) Individuals without certification from ORR

If a CDJFS encounters an individual or a child that is believed to meet the definition of a victim of a severe form of trafficking, but the individual has no certification, the CDJFS shall contact the appropriate contact person at ORR.

If the CDJFS encounters a child believed to have been subjected to a severe form of trafficking who lacks an eligibility letter for children, the CDJFS shall contact the appropriate contact person at ORR.

Effective: 09/01/2008
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 06/11/2008 and 09/01/2013
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5101.02 , 5101.49 , 5107.05 , 5115.05
Rule Amplifies: 5101.02 , 5101.49 , 5107.05 , 5115.05
Prior Effective Dates: 3/1/02, 11/1/02, 7/1/05