Last month, the Trump administration published a new “public charge” rule that will make some immigrants who rely on Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers, and other types of public assistance ineligible for green cards.
Under the new rule, the following types of public assistance can render a green card applicant a public charge:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- “General Assistance" Programs
The news has immigrant communities wondering if they should avoid applying for public benefits because their status might be impacted, which is why we want to clarify some of the confusion regarding the effects of the new public charge rule.
First, the new rule does not penalize green card applicants if a family member receives government benefits. So if your child is a U.S citizen who receives public assistance like food stamps, they don’t need to opt-out of their benefits. The new public charge also doesn’t apply to the naturalization proceedings.
If you receive any of the following non-cash benefits, USCIS cannot consider them for public charge purposes:
- Foster Care & Adoption Assistance
- The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Emergency Disaster Relief
- Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- Childcare Services
- Job Training Programs
- Educational Assistance
- Community-Based Programs
USCIS uses the following factors to determine if a green card applicant is a public charge:
- Family Status
- Financial Status
- Education & Skills