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Policy question
Oct 11, 2002

I work with HIV + clients in a federally funded program. I am new, but I am becoming more aware of the benefits available. It seems that most of our funds are going to illegal immigrants. I have discovered many American citizens have not been offered available benefits and worse, they are the sickest and are well below the poverty level. I have searched for policy addressing this issue and I certainly want everyone to get the help they need to survive this disease. My program assistant is from Mexico and she is great. Unfortunately, I think she is putting those of her culture before others that need the assistance more urgently, whether she realizes this or not. Patients have noticed this as well. I am still in orientation, so I don't have the authority to question what she does. So I am researching. Can you help me with a policy regarding illegal immigrants and benefit distribution? Thanks

Response from Ms. Breuer

Your question is too general to allow for a specific answer--federal and state benefits are so complex. You can find good information on benefits for HIV+ immigrants at several web sites that specialize in AIDS information on a wide range of topics, such as Comparing those benefits with those available to U.S. citizens is difficult. For the comparison, you may need to contact a health services specialist in your state representative's or state senator's office.

If you continue to believe that you are observing discrimination in benefit distribution, I urge you to ask questions of your immediate supervisor and that person's supervisor. Asking questions is a much less threatening way to raise an issue than making accusations, especially when you're new.

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