Medical Assistance for Families with Children and Adults

2.2.3.2.1 Sponsor Deeming

Certain noncitizens have a sponsor. For purposes of Medical Assistance for Families with Children and Adults (MA-FCA) eligibility, a sponsor is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) who sponsors a noncitizen as a condition of the noncitizen's entry into the United States.

Applicants, enrollees, and sponsors must cooperate with supplying or obtaining sponsor information if sponsor deeming applies. If the applicant, enrollee, or sponsor fails to cooperate coverage may be closed. The Sponsor Letter (DHS-3453)  reminds sponsors of their legal obligation to provide support and to request verification from the sponsor. 

Sponsor deeming only applies if the noncitizen was sponsored using Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. This type of sponsorship only applies to certain family-based immigrants and to employment-based immigrants coming to work for a relative.

To qualify to be a sponsor, a person must agree and demonstrate to the federal government that they can support the noncitizen to 125% federal poverty guidelines (FPG). To represent the sponsor’s contribution to the noncitizen, 125% FPG for a household of one is added to the sponsored noncitizen’s income to determine MA financial eligibility. If a sponsored noncitizen is eligible for MA after the 125% FPG is added, no verification of sponsor income is needed.

If a sponsored noncitizen is not eligible for MA due to sponsor deeming and the sponsor is providing less than 125% FPG, they can provide proof and have eligibility redetermined. Once verified, only the income the sponsor or sponsor’s spouse actually contributes to the noncitizen is counted when determining MA financial eligibility.

Exceptions to MA Sponsor Deeming

The sponsorship ends and sponsor deeming no longer applies when any of the following changes occur:

  • The sponsored immigrant becomes a naturalized citizen

  • The sponsor or sponsored immigrant dies

  • The sponsored noncitizen has attained at least 40 work quarters as determined by the Social Security Administration

Sponsor deeming does not apply to sponsored noncitizens when the noncitizen:

  • is under age 21

  • is pregnant. This exception ends when the sponsored pregnant woman’s 60-day postpartum period ends. Sponsor deeming applies the month following the end of the postpartum period.

  • is sponsored by someone whose income has already been counted in the MAGI-based MA household, such as the applicant’s spouse

  • has sponsorship deferred by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when their immigration status is changed to Battered Noncitizen

  • needs placement in a facility and placement is jeopardized by the sponsor’s failure or inability to provide support, or inability of the client to locate the sponsor

Exceptions to Form I-864 Sponsorship

Noncitizens who immigrate with a non-family based petition are not subject to sponsorship and sponsor deeming. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Battered noncitizens

  • Cuban Haitian entrants

  • Diversity visa recipients

  • Noncitizen sponsored by a business or organization that is not related to an immigrant

  • People with temporary protected status

  • Refugee and asylees

Safety Net

If deeming a sponsor's income causes an applicant to be ineligible for MA-FCA based on income eligibility, and the applicant's projected annual income is less than 100% FPG according to income standards for MinnesotaCare, the applicant will be eligible for MA. This is because sponsor income is not counted for MinnesotaCare. This is called the Safety Net Provision.

Legal Citations

Minnesota Statutes, section 256B.06

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, title IV, Public Law 104-193, sections 421-423 (1996)

United States Code, title 8, section 1183a