By Katherine Villeda, Colin Reusch: For Complete Post, Click Here…
Late last week following guidance from the Biden administration, the Department of Homeland Security released the final Public Charge Rule, taking an important step forward to undo the harm caused by the previous administration’s rule which significantly threatened access to critical services for immigrants and their families. This final rule adds critical protections and affirms that immigrants and their families can safely access health, housing and nutritional programs to which they are entitled to without fear of consequences to their immigration status.
Here is what advocates need to know:
- The final rule goes into effect Dec. 22, 2022. Between now and then, the field guidance from the 1999 rule will continue to be followed.
- Immigrants and their families, including citizen children, can safely access non-cash health, nutritional and housing programs they qualify for, such as Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and Section 8 housing assistance. Benefits received from these programs will not count towards the public charge test.
- Applying for benefits, being approved for benefits, assisting someone else to apply for benefits, or being in the same household as someone who receives benefits will not be counted towards the applicant’s immigration application.
- The only programs that can be considered in a public charge determination are Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance, state and locally funded cash assistance for income maintenance, and long-term institutional care paid for by Medicaid (this excludes short term or rehabilitative care and home and community-based services). However, getting these benefits does not automatically make someone a public charge. Other factors such as when benefits were received, length of receipt of benefits, education, skills, income and affidavit of support will be taken into account before making a public charge determination. If a public charge determination is made, immigration officers must now state their reasons as to why someone is a public charge.
A further analysis of the final rule can be found here.