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First things first

First things first

Old Sep 10th 2012, 8:08 am
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Default First things first

Hi,

It's under 2 months now til we,Me UKC, Wife USC and 2 boys (2 and 6 weeks) both move to Clovis, California.

I was wondering what are the most important things to get sorted when we first move out? We are living with the MIL for 1st 6 months so thats sorted but was thinking more along the lines of getting kids registered at a medical centre etc. Is that even a done thing or is it linked to medical insurance? Are we entitled to apply for child benefit or equivalent or does such a thing even exist like here in the UK? I've been looking online for work but is there an equivalent to the UK job centre where I could physically go in and look for jobs, talk to an advisor etc?

My wife moved here straight from College so hasn't really experienced the routines of day to day working life so can't answer these questions.

If there are any other recommendations that fellow expats have done or experienced please post up.

Thanks in advance
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 8:27 am
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Default Re: First things first

Hi

Although I'm not a fan of making lists, when it comes to moving internationally it's actually a really good idea. There is so much going on and so much to do, you really need to make a big list of EVERYTHING and go down it one at a time until you're ready to get on the plane.

This is a good start:

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/List_o...n_about_Moving

You don't register at a medical center. You get health insurance and when you need a doctor (or if you want to have a regular doctor) you ring up those doctors who are approved by your health insurance plan. Your health care comes from your employer in most cases. If you don't have an employer, you should look at temporary coverage until you do have one. Going without insurance can be a disaster, even if only for a few weeks. We have a WIKI on that as well:

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Health_Insurance

Are you a new immigrant? I'm afraid most welfare benefits are restricted to new immigrants. Basically there is a five year ban on new immigrants receiving certain types of benefits. You won't be eligible for any payments or the like, though when you fill out your taxes you will get deductions for dependents. Your children, if they are USC, may be able to get some benefits but I'm really not uptodate on how any of that works. There is a complicated list here:

http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/immigration/...ions-sum.shtml

As for a job center, some governments have agencies that are designed to help people find work, but it wouldn't be my first place to look. Depends on what field you are considering.
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 11:04 am
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Default Re: First things first

What will your status be in the US? Is your wife sponsoring you?

I assume that your kids are USC's by descent? If so, they need US passports as US federal law states that USC's must leave/enter the US on US passports.

There is no universal healthcare in the US like the NHS in the UK. Health insurance is provided by your US employer and benefits can vary greatly from one employer to the next. Hopefully your wife will be working as soon as she gets to the US....otherwise you'll probably have to look into obtaining some sort of private medical insurance (especially with 2 young children).

I don't know of any UK-style "child benefit". You may be able to claim a "child tax credit" on your tax returns - depending on your income.

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Ten-Facts-abo...ild-Tax-Credit

What type of work are you looking for? There are private recruitment agencies that can help you find jobs...but it's actually better for you to approach employers yourself as much as possible (I once lost a job offer because of a dispute between the recruiter and the employer - long story.) Also check web sites like www.monster.com. Sometimes these web sites specialize in certain careers (e.g. www.dice.com for tech jobs). It's also a good idea to join professional networks e.g. www.linkedin.com.
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 1:31 pm
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Default Re: First things first

I'll be on a IR-1 visa and yes my wife is main sponsor and my MIL is joint. Our older boy has US passpport and we were just up in Blefast at the US consulate getting the younger one sorted for his last week.

I would like to get into education, youth work, outdoor pursuits, working with people with disabilities or a combination of these. I've joined edjoin.com at the minute.

The wife will 'hopefully' be working as soon as (well if I have anything to do with it she will), so hopefully that will take care of the medical insurance.

@ penguin, yes I am a new immigrant but my wife is a USC and thought she may be entitled to something, if infact there are benefits available.

Cheers for the replies. I'll have a wee read of the links when the kiddos are in bed!
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 1:42 pm
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Default Re: First things first

One other thing. USC's are liable to file US tax returns regardless of where they live in the world. If your wife has not been filing and should have been (it depends on her worldwide income in any given tax year), then she'll want to get that sorted at some point.
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: First things first

There are no "entitlement" benefits, Ryan. You'll both have to get out and get jobs most likely. Might be easier on you since you didn't just have a baby 6 weeks ago. When we first moved over (I'm the USC) my husband went to work for a retail store until he found a decent job. It was better than sitting and doing nothing. It wasn't a lot of money, but certainly motivated him to look harder for suitable employment.

Back to the benefits, you're boys and your wife might be able to get Medi-cal (state run medical benefits) but I have no idea what the criteria is for that now. They also may be able to get food stamps, but that may not be possible if you're living with the mil.

Good luck!
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 1:47 pm
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Default Re: First things first

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
One other thing. USC's are liable to file US tax returns regardless of where they live in the world. If your wife has not been filing and should have been (it depends on her worldwide income in any given tax year), then she'll want to get that sorted at some point.
Yeah she filed for the last 3 years as part of my visa application.
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 1:50 pm
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Default Re: First things first

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
There are no "entitlement" benefits, Ryan. You'll both have to get out and get jobs most likely. Might be easier on you since you didn't just have a baby 6 weeks ago. When we first moved over (I'm the USC) my husband went to work for a retail store until he found a decent job. It was better than sitting and doing nothing. It wasn't a lot of money, but certainly motivated him to look harder for suitable employment.

Back to the benefits, you're boys and your wife might be able to get Medi-cal (state run medical benefits) but I have no idea what the criteria is for that now. They also may be able to get food stamps, but that may not be possible if you're living with the mil.

Good luck!
Thanks Lisa,

Yeah I'm prepared to do anything when we 1st move over, hopefully get my foot in the door somewhere and go from there. I've always had a job since finishing Uni and couldn't bare not have some type of work routine...whatever the job!!
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 1:53 pm
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Default Re: First things first

Originally Posted by Ryan NI View Post
Thanks Lisa,

Yeah I'm prepared to do anything when we 1st move over, hopefully get my foot in the door somewhere and go from there. I've always had a job since finishing Uni and couldn't bare not have some type of work routine...whatever the job!!
Yes, my husband was the same way! And glad to read that you're not moving to Fresno!
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 1:54 pm
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Default Re: First things first

Originally Posted by Ryan NI View Post
I'll be on a IR-1 visa and yes my wife is main sponsor and my MIL is joint. Our older boy has US passpport and we were just up in Blefast at the US consulate getting the younger one sorted for his last week.

I would like to get into education, youth work, outdoor pursuits, working with people with disabilities or a combination of these. I've joined edjoin.com at the minute.

The wife will 'hopefully' be working as soon as (well if I have anything to do with it she will), so hopefully that will take care of the medical insurance.

@ penguin, yes I am a new immigrant but my wife is a USC and thought she may be entitled to something, if infact there are benefits available.

Cheers for the replies. I'll have a wee read of the links when the kiddos are in bed!
What benefits are you looking for? The US does not have the social safety net that the UK has.

You can get a deduction on your taxes if you have dependent children. When you file your taxes, you take a deduction for children at that time. Depending on your income level, that deduction may give you a refund on taxes. You'll get that refund at that time, and it's not spread out over the course of the year. I don't know if there is a tax wiki here, but you can use a W4 calculator to determine what number of exemptions to use that will reduce the amount of taxes you pay throughout the year (so you keep more in your pocket throughout the year), so that you may not get a refund back at the end of the year but you won't have to pay either.

As far as finding work, some counties/cities have unemployment offices. The office in my area also has a type of resource area where you can go in and use their computers to find jobs, and I think you can talk to an adviser of some type. But they are not their to find you a job really, mostly they are providing the paperwork to people who have been laid off and are trying to claim unemployment insurance benefits. Your best bet to find work is private recruiters and temp agencies and online job sites.

If you have health insurance, then you chose a Primary Care doctor (i.e. GP) from the list of doctors that accept your insurance. You don't register with them, you just call them and make an appointment whenever you are sick.

If you don't have insurance while you are looking for work, your wife and kids may qualify for coverage from Medicaid (or whatever the equivalent is called in California). As far as I'm aware, you can't qualify for this because you are a new immigrant..but CA can set some of their own rules, so you need to confirm whether this is true or not. Be aware though, that using Medicaid is considered using means-tested benefits (I think) and therefore the Federal gov't can go after your wife and MIL to pay back that money.

What other questions do you have?

Last edited by Bluegrass Lass; Sep 10th 2012 at 1:57 pm.
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: First things first

There is a ban on federal funds for Medicaid or Medicare being used for new immigrants (the so-called Five Year Ban). However, some states can use state funds to provide some services to new immigrants. In places like California and NY, they do offer some public assistance to new immigrants with a very limited version of health care (think car crash / emergency). Your kids will be eligible for something via the fact they are USC, but it will be means tested against your wife's income as shown on her last tax returns.

Your best bet is to look at some temporary cover until you get things sorted over here.
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: First things first

Originally Posted by Ryan NI View Post
I'll be on a IR-1 visa and yes my wife is main sponsor and my MIL is joint. Our older boy has US passpport and we were just up in Blefast at the US consulate getting the younger one sorted for his last week.

I would like to get into education, youth work, outdoor pursuits, working with people with disabilities or a combination of these. I've joined edjoin.com at the minute.

The wife will 'hopefully' be working as soon as (well if I have anything to do with it she will), so hopefully that will take care of the medical insurance.

@ penguin, yes I am a new immigrant but my wife is a USC and thought she may be entitled to something, if infact there are benefits available.

Cheers for the replies. I'll have a wee read of the links when the kiddos are in bed!
What are you "qualified" to do? Do you have a degree and if so in what?

Working in education in the States needs specific qualifications, usually State mandated, working with children, people with disabilities also needs specific requirements.
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: First things first

Originally Posted by Ryan NI View Post
Hi,

It's under 2 months now til we,Me UKC, Wife USC and 2 boys (2 and 6 weeks) both move to Clovis, California.

I was wondering what are the most important things to get sorted when we first move out? We are living with the MIL for 1st 6 months so thats sorted but was thinking more along the lines of getting kids registered at a medical centre etc. Is that even a done thing or is it linked to medical insurance? Are we entitled to apply for child benefit or equivalent or does such a thing even exist like here in the UK? I've been looking online for work but is there an equivalent to the UK job centre where I could physically go in and look for jobs, talk to an advisor etc?

My wife moved here straight from College so hasn't really experienced the routines of day to day working life so can't answer these questions.

If there are any other recommendations that fellow expats have done or experienced please post up.

Thanks in advance

All health care in the US is linked to medical insurance of one sort or another. Even if you get onto some State welfare scheme there are usually costs involved.

You will definitely be able to purchase medical insurance for the children since this was mandated for all children under 18, regardless of pre-conditions, by the new Health Care Act.

I would suggest you get onto this asap since having a 6 weeks year old and a 2 year old and no health insurance is a disaster waiting to happen.

Until such time as either you or your wife get jobs - when you will then hopefully obtain health insurance via your employer -you will be subject to the rules and regulations of the individual health insurance market and may or may not be able to get insurance for yourselves.
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 5:45 pm
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Default Re: First things first

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
All health care in the US is linked to medical insurance of one sort or another.
Mostly but not always. Some people have no insurance and pay their medical bills out of their own pockets. Others (e.g. illegal immigrants) obtain services in ER departments.

My wife is a nurse at a local hospital. She used to work in the ER and the place was full every night with people who had no health insurance and simply used the ER for their healthcare needs (whether it was an emergency or not). Many of them were Hispanic, spoke little or no English, were undocumented and assumed to be illegal immigrants. The hospital always treats them and attempts to bill them later but ends up writing off much of it.
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Old Sep 10th 2012, 6:04 pm
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Default Re: First things first

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
Mostly but not always. Some people have no insurance and pay their medical bills out of their own pockets. Others (e.g. illegal immigrants) obtain services in ER departments.

My wife is a nurse at a local hospital. She used to work in the ER and the place was full every night with people who had no health insurance and simply used the ER for their healthcare needs (whether it was an emergency or not). Many of them were Hispanic, spoke little or no English, were undocumented and assumed to be illegal immigrants. The hospital always treats them and attempts to bill them later but ends up writing off much of it.
The OP asked about registering his children for medical cover. My note informed him that he could get medical insurance for the children due to the Health Care Act of 2010.

While some people pay for their own medical bills, its not the ideal solution as we all know. Rarely can most people pay a few thousand dollars for a hospital stay, an MRI or ongoing prescriptions. Most people would like to have medical insurance to provide treatment for their families.

We all know about the ER being used by people who are not able to pay for their medical treatment. The OP is neither Hispanic, undocumented nor can speak little English so don't know why you bothered to mention it.
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