Public Charge Final Rule Implemented Nationwide Today

Starting today, February 24, 2020, USCIS will implement the Final Rule on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds nationwide. This includes State of Illinois which was excluded until last week, following an injunction on the state.

Legal immigrants who access (or have the potential to do so in the future) non-cash benefits like Medicaid, supplemental nutrition and federal housing assistance issued by the State will be denied permanent residency in the US. Or is in the process of adjusting his status to become a permanent resident. USCIS defines ‘public charge’ as an individual who is likely to become “primarily” dependent on the US government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government’s expense.

The Public Charge Rule does not affect non-US citizens who have already received their permanent residency. All petitions post-dated after today, February 24, 2020 will be put through the “wealth test”.

Do you have all the facts on the Final Rule on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds?

Here are all the facts you should be aware of

Public Charge Rule Affecting Adjustment of Status Applications

The Final Rule on inadmissibility on the grounds of being a public charge also applies to anyone who is applying to adjust his status for permanent residency in the US. If USCIS determines that the applicant has accessed public benefits before attaining permanent residency, he will be deemed ineligible. The onus of proof lies with the applicant.

Public Charge Rule Affecting Extension of Non-Immigrant Status

Starting today, any non-immigrant applying for an extension of his stay or even a change of non-immigrant status will have to prove that they have not accessed any public benefits as a non-immigrant.

Did You Know – Not having medical insurance as a non-immigrant can put you through the Public Charge Test?

Here’s where you should get one today

Public Charge Programs

Programs that are likely to be viewed as those which would make a noncitizen inadmissible as a public charge include:

  • Cash assistance for income maintenance through Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program
  • State or local cash assistance programs for income maintenance

Each of the above are often called “general assistance” programs and acceptance of public cash from these programs could make a non-citizen inadmissible.  However, the mere receipt of these benefits do not automatically make an individual inadmissible or ineligible to adjust status to lawful permanent residence, or even deportable on public charge grounds.  USCIS will make a determination on a case-by-case basis and will review it in the context of the totality of circumstances. Having said that, Medicaid used to support aliens who reside in an institution for long-term care (nursing home, mental health institute, etc.) may be considered as an adverse factor in the totality of the circumstances for purposes of public charge determination.

What are the Exceptions to The Public Charge Consideration?

Here’s a list of which non-cash benefits and special-purpose cash benefits are NOT subject to public charge consideration