Q: Where can I get information about my health insurance options? I am a green card holder age 65, but I dont have the necessary 40 quarters (10 years) of work history necessary to qualify for Medicare.
A: Permanent residents age 65 or over and who have not worked 40 quarters in the United States have two health insurance options: Obamacare, and buying into Medicare.
For information on how immigrants qualify for Obamacare, go to bit.ly/1yonPWM. For information about buying into Medicare, go to bit.ly/1Bn8i5z and at the AARP website: bit.ly/2CLDq5E.
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Q: My parents have green cards, but they have been abroad for six years. If they show up at a U.S. airport, what are the chances theyll immediately be sent back to China? My parents went home to China for a visit, but couldnt return because my mother broke her hip. Then my father broke his spine. Now they both suffer from Alzheimers disease. They are both 88 years old and want to return to the United States. I read about the returning resident visa, but they have no one in China who can help them with the application.
Linda, New York
A: If your parents arrive at a U.S. airport applying for admission, Customs and Border Protection should either admit them as permanent residents or schedule them for removal hearings. At the hearing, they can challenge their deportation. My guess is that given their age, Customs will admit them.
They need to bring proof that their absence abroad was unavoidable due to their medical condition. After one continuous year abroad, a green card is not a valid admission document. However, Customs will admit permanent residents who can prove that their failure to return within one year was beyond their control.
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A less stressful alternative to simply showing up at a port of entry is to apply at a U.S. consulate abroad for a returning resident/special immigrant visa. If thats impossible, try to travel with your parents when they come to the United States. Given their medical condition, it would be best if you are there to advocate on their behalf.
Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004 or email to [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @awernick.