2016 Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 24 - Government - State
Restrictions on Public Benefits
Article 76.5 - Restrictions on Public Benefits
§ 24-76.5-103. Verification of lawful presence - exceptions - reporting - rules

CO Rev Stat § 24-76.5-103 (2016) What's This?

(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3) of this section or where exempted by federal law, on and after August 1, 2006, each agency or political subdivision of the state shall verify the lawful presence in the United States of each natural person eighteen years of age or older who applies for state or local public benefits or for federal public benefits for the applicant.

(2) This section shall be enforced without regard to race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or national origin.

(3) Verification of lawful presence in the United States shall not be required:

(a) For any purpose for which lawful presence in the United States is not required by law, ordinance, or rule;

(b) For obtaining health care items and services that are necessary for the treatment of an emergency medical condition of the person involved and are not related to an organ transplant procedure;

(c) For short-term, noncash, in-kind emergency disaster relief;

(d) For public health assistance for immunizations with respect to immunizable diseases and for testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases whether or not such symptoms are caused by a communicable disease;

(e) For programs, services, or assistance, such as soup kitchens, crisis counseling and intervention, and short-term shelter specified by federal law or regulation that:

(I) Deliver in-kind services at the community level, including services through public or private nonprofit agencies;

(II) Do not condition the provision of assistance, the amount of assistance provided, or the cost of assistance provided on the individual recipient's income or resources; and

(III) Are necessary for the protection of life or safety;

(f) For pregnant women;

(g) For individuals over the age of eighteen years and under the age of nineteen years who continue to be eligible for medical assistance programs after their eighteenth birthday;

(h) For renewing an educator license pursuant to article 60.5 of title 22, C.R.S.; or

(i) For receipt of educational services or benefits from institutions of higher education, except as may be limited pursuant to section 23-7-110, C.R.S., including participation in the college opportunity fund program pursuant to part 2 of article 18 of title 23, C.R.S., college savings plans pursuant to section 23-3.1-301, C.R.S., and any other financial benefit of the institution of higher education relating to attendance at the institution of higher education.

(4) An agency or a political subdivision shall verify the lawful presence in the United States of each applicant eighteen years of age or older for federal public benefits or state or local public benefits by requiring the applicant to:

(a) Produce:

(I) A valid Colorado driver's license or a Colorado identification card issued under article 2 of title 42, C.R.S., unless the applicant holds a license or card issued under part 5 of article 2 of title 42, C.R.S.; or

(II) A United States military card or a military dependent's identification card; or

(III) A United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card; or

(IV) A Native American tribal document; and

(b) Execute an affidavit stating:

(I) That he or she is a United States citizen or legal permanent resident; or

(II) That he or she is otherwise lawfully present in the United States pursuant to federal law.

(4.5) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (4) of this section, an institution of higher education may accept a tuition classification certification form signed by an authorized United States military education services official as evidence of an applicant's lawful presence in the United States.

(5) (a) Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraph (a) of subsection (4) of this section, the executive director of the department of revenue shall promulgate rules providing for additional forms of identification recognized by the federal government to prove lawful presence and a waiver process to ensure that an individual seeking benefits pursuant to this section proves lawful presence in the United States. The rules are necessary to ensure that certain individuals lawfully present in the United States receive authorized benefits, including but not limited to homeless state citizens.

(b) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2007, p. 24, § 1, effective March 1, 2007.)

(c) Repealed.

(6) A person who knowingly makes a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation in an affidavit executed pursuant to subsection (4) of this section shall be guilty of a violation of section 18-8-503, C.R.S. It shall constitute a separate violation of section 18-8-503, C.R.S., each time that a person receives a public benefit based upon such a statement or representation.

(7) For an applicant who has executed an affidavit stating that he or she is an alien lawfully present in the United States, verification of lawful presence for federal public benefits or state or local public benefits shall be made through the federal systematic alien verification of entitlement program, referred to in this section as the "SAVE program", operated by the United States department of homeland security or a successor program designated by the United States department of homeland security. Until such verification of lawful presence is made, the affidavit may be presumed to be proof of lawful presence for purposes of this section.

(8) Agencies or political subdivisions of this state may adopt variations of the requirements of paragraph (b) of subsection (4) of this section to improve efficiency or reduce delay in the verification process or to provide for adjudication of unique individual circumstances in which the verification procedures in this section would impose unusual hardship on a legal resident of the state; except that the variations shall be no less stringent than the requirements of this section.

(9) It shall be unlawful for an agency or a political subdivision of this state to provide a federal public benefit or a state or local public benefit in violation of this section. On or before January 15, 2009, and on or before January 15 each year thereafter, each state agency or department that administers a program that provides state or local public benefits shall provide a report with respect to its compliance with this section to the state, veterans, and military affairs committees of the senate and house of representatives, or any successor committees.

(10) Errors and significant delays by the SAVE program shall be reported to the United States department of homeland security and to the secretary of state, both of which monitor the SAVE program and its verification application errors and significant delays and report yearly on such errors and delays, to ensure that the application of the SAVE program is not wrongfully denying benefits to legal residents of the state.

(11) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the section that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are declared to be severable.

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