By Attorney Carlos Gamino

New Public Charge Rule - Carlos Gamino

The Department of Homeland Security’s new Public Charge Rule may have an impact on your green card eligibility or your citizenship application. It’s most likely going to decrease the number of people who are eligible for green cards – so here’s what you need to know.

2020 Changes to the Public Charge Rule

The Public Charge Rule is officially being implemented after several lengthy court battles. (The U.S. Supreme Court stayed the final injunction on it in March 2020.)

A “public charge” is a person who receives certain types of public benefits. If USCIS feels that a person is likely to become a public charge, which means that person would (or did) use certain benefits for more than 12 months out of any 36-month period, it can reject a green card application or a citizenship application.

Under the previous rule, USCIS would look at an applicant’s Affidavit of Support and make a determination – but now, it can use other factors to weigh its decision. These are the factors an individual USCIS officer can look at to make an independent decision (and all officers may have different criteria):

  • Age
  • Health
  • Family status
  • Education and skills
  • Assets, resources and financial status
  • Expected period of admission

What Public Benefits Count Against the Public Charge Rule?

The benefits that count against the rule include:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Any federal, state, local or tribal cash benefit programs for income maintenance
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation)
  • Public Housing
  • Federally funded Medicaid (with some exclusions)

Benefits that won’t count include Medicaid benefits received for emergency treatment or in connection with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act.

Will the 2020 Changes to the Public Charge Rule Affect You?

If you think the changes to the Public Charge Rule will affect your case, you may want to talk to a Milwaukee immigration attorney. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a consultation about your case.

Carlos Gamino