Changes to the Public Charge Rule

Background

On Aug. 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially published changes to the public charge rule in the Federal Register. The rule will go into effect on Oct. 15, 2019. Immigrants who use certain public healthcare, food and housing benefits could be considered a “public charge” and see their applications for green cards or visas denied. New Yorkers who have questions about the new rule should contact the Office for New Americans hotline at 1-800-566-7636 to receive more information.

Most immigrants will continue to be exempt from the public charge determination, including:

  • Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders)
  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ)
  • T & U Visa holders
  • Victims of domestic violence (VAWA)
  • Other humanitarian statuses

Prior to the public charge rule changes, cash benefits and long-term medical care were the only public benefits considered as part of the “public charge” determination. The new rule will now include federally-funded Medicaid, SNAP and subsidized housing assistance. Public charge determinations are based on a “totality of circumstances,” which considers whether a person’s income, resources, age, family situation and health would lead to dependence on government assistance in the future. Enrolling in these benefits does not by itself make someone a public charge, and we encourage any concerned individual to consult an immigration or benefits expert before foregoing any programs. New Yorkers who have questions about the new rule can contact the Office for New Americans hotline at 1-800-566-7636 to receive more information and be connected to resources.

For updated resources, download them directly from the national Protecting Immigrant Families campaign. To join the campaign listserv, go here. NYIC will be posting updated resources on this webpage during the upcoming weeks.

To request a training at your organization about public charge and the proposed rule changes, email [email protected]

Need legal assistance?

Call the NYS Immigration Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 or view our directory of service providers here