Immigration Services ceremony
Immigrants waved flags after a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ceremony in Oakland, California, on Aug. 13, 2014. Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who are granted temporary deportation relief under President Barack Obama’s executive action will be able to get federal tax credits and refunds they earned while working illegally, the New York Post reported.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen told the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday that newly authorized immigrants will be eligible to claim tax breaks and retroactive benefits dating back three years after receiving their Social Security numbers. “The program allows you to file for earned income tax credits,” the Post quoted Koskinen as saying. “In terms of whether you can do that retroactively, the normal statutes of limitations would apply as to when you can file an amended return.”

Koskinen said only qualified workers who had previously filed tax returns can claim earned income tax credits. Newly authorized workers who have not filed tax returns are ineligible for credits and refunds, the New York Post said.

A Republican committee member, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, said allowing qualified workers to collect retroactive benefits “undermines congressional policy of not rewarding those for working illegally in the United States,” according to the Post. Koskinen reportedly said he did not believe the IRS would revisit its interpretation of the earned income tax credit, which is the only tax program tangled in the immigration-reform debate.

The earned income tax credit puts tax refunds in the pockets of working individuals and families. The program is targeted at low- and moderate-income households, particularly those with children. However, Obama has proposed expanding access to the credit to more low-wage childless workers, according to the Detroit Free Press.

This tax season, the maximum credit is worth as much as $6,242 for those with three children earning no more than $53,267, according to the New York Post. Nearly 28 million people received $66 billion via the program last year, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Obama used his executive authority to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in November. The Congressional Budget Office estimated in January that between 2 million and 2.5 million people will have received approval to stay in the U.S. by 2017.