.15 Sponsored Qualified Immigrants.

A. This regulation applies to qualified immigrants who are required by federal law to have a sponsor who has signed an I-864 Affidavit of Support.

B. Countable Income of Sponsors. All monthly earned and unearned income of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse is countable as described in Regulation .13B—D of this chapter, with the following disregards:

(1) 20 percent of the gross earned income, or 50 percent of the gross income if self-employed;

(2) Out-of-pocket child care expenses as described in Regulation .13E(3)(c) of this chapter;

(3) An amount that is equal to the payment standard in Regulation .17 of this chapter for an assistance unit of the same size as the sponsor's family;

(4) Verified payments of alimony or child support a sponsor makes to individuals outside the sponsor's family; and

(5) Verified payments a sponsor makes to individuals outside the family who are claimed by the sponsor as dependents to determine the sponsor's personal federal income tax liability.

C. Assets of Sponsors.

(1) All assets of the sponsor and sponsor's spouse as described in §C(2) of this regulation in excess of $2,000 are counted as available to the sponsored immigrant.

(2) Countable assets include:

(a) Cash on hand;

(b) Money in a savings account; and

(c) Money in a checking account.

D. When an individual is the sponsor of two or more legal immigrants, the portion of the income and assets of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse that is counted as available to the legal immigrants shall be divided equally among the sponsored immigrants.

E. Exempt Immigrants. The provisions §§A—D of this regulation do not apply to an immigrant who is:

(1) Sponsored by an organization or group instead of an individual;

(2) Not required to have a sponsor under the Immigrant and Nationality Act, such as, but not limited to:

(a) A refugee;

(b) A parolee;

(c) An individual granted asylum; or

(d) A Cuban or Haitian entrant;

(3) A battered spouse or child, with the exemption lasting 12 months, if:

(a) The individual has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the United States by the individual's spouse or parents or by another family member residing in the household who was allowed to commit the act;

(b) The battery or cruelty has a substantial connection to the need for benefits; and

(c) The spouse or child subjected to the cruelty is not living with the individual who committed the acts; or

(4) Abandoned by their sponsor or where the sponsor's contribution is so inadequate that the immigrant would otherwise go without food and shelter.

F. Sponsored Immigrant Responsibility. During the period the immigrant is subject to §§A—D of this regulation, the immigrant is responsible for:

(1) Obtaining the cooperation of the immigrant's sponsor for providing the local department, at the time of application and recertification, with the information and documentation necessary to calculate countable income and resources in accordance with §§B—D of this regulation; and

(2) Providing the names, or other identifying factors, of other immigrants for whom the immigrant's sponsor has signed an affidavit of support.

G. Awaiting Verification. Until a sponsored immigrant provides information or verification necessary to calculate income and resources as described in §§B—D of this regulation:

(1) The sponsored immigrant is ineligible; and

(2) The local department:

(a) Shall determine the eligibility and benefit level of any remaining assistance unit members;

(b) Shall consider available to the remaining household members the income and resources of the sponsored immigrant; and

(c) May not include the deemed income and resources of the immigrant's sponsor or the sponsor's spouse.

H. Termination of Support Obligation.

(1) The sponsor's support obligation terminates when the sponsored immigrant:

(a) Becomes a citizen of the United States;

(b) Has worked, or can be credited with, 40 qualifying quarters of work, provided that the sponsored immigrant is not credited with any quarter beginning after December 31, 1996, during which the immigrant receives a federal means-tested public benefit;

(c) Ceases to hold the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent status and has departed the U.S.; or

(d) Dies.

(2) The sponsor's support obligation ends if the sponsor dies.

(3) The termination of the support obligation does not relieve the sponsor or the sponsor's estate of any reimbursement obligation that accrued before the support obligation terminated.