What Programs and Which People Will be Impacted by USCIS’ New Public Charge Rule?

USCIS published a new rule about “being a public charge” last week. This rule is scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019. This rule says that any person who receives a public benefit (aka is a public charge) will have a point given to them for each month they receive a benefit.

Transcript (Transcripción):

Andres Mejer: Now what are programs that are included SSI Supplemental Security Income TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families SNAP food stamps Section 8 housing which are housing costs that are subsidized by the government, now for six years. I was commissioner of Long Branch Housing Authority I was actually Vice Chairman. So I know a little bit about housing authority and Section 8 housing. Or lastly, it’s Medicaid. Now, no points will be accumulated for emergency Medicaid or medical situations or if you have a child under 18 that receives their benefits but the parents do not. Over 18 they’re already dependent on you and they either qualify or they don’t on their own. So if I’m an immigrant, I’m here without permission,. I have two children which I do and I don’t have insurance but they have insurance but paid for by the government which I contribute some portion thereof because my income is below a certain amount. That does not count against me because I’m not receiving a benefit. My kids are very important now. What does this mean public charging for most people? It makes no darn difference. Why do I say that few immigrants get public benefits? I know there’s a lot of stuff in the news and they say immigrants take this and immigrants get that and they react. 

Andres Mejer: It’s just not true because most simply don’t qualify. If you have no legal status you cannot receive Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Food Stamps or Section 8 housing, you’re automatically disqualified. So who are we talking about? Maybe Green Card Holders?. OK, that’s possible, but if I got a Green Card and someone applied for me let’s say, my wife. 

Andres Mejer: The government can go to her to pay for the benefit that I’m getting because she made a commitment and she made a promise that she would maintain me at one hundred twenty-five percent over the poverty guidelines, which means I would not qualify. I would only qualify if she failed to do that. Now she’s required to do that even if we get divorced. It doesn’t matter. It’s a contract she made at the time. The fact that we later divorce has no bearing on that. So what does it mean for somebody who wants to change her status today? Nothing. Because it’s not in effect if you’re filing for a benefit after October 15th. I recommend you contact our office. This public charge rule affects anyone inside or outside the US who wants to apply for a visa. Remove conditions on their Green Card, want to get the Green Card, or wants to be a U.S. citizen. Who does not apply to was excluded?. Those in the military and their spouses the children. Public benefits received by certain international adoptees and children acquiring U.S. citizenship. What I mean by that is I’m 18, I’m 14 years old. I’m a Green Card. How do I live with my parents? My father and my mother got their citizenship. I live with them. The moment they get this isn’t I’m a citizen so I observe don’t count for that. Medicaid for children under 21. They are minors under immigration purposes. Pregnant women in the United States. Pregnant women get separate insurance for that period of time. That does not count as a public benefit. Medicaid for school-based services including individuals with disabilities, so if I have a child with special needs and they get treatment at school they get therapy. That does not count against my application for me getting a Green Card. If I’m applying to do that it also doesn’t applied for beneficiaries of humanitarian-based immigration programs like, refugees and asylum seekers, applying for asylum. Especially immigrant juveniles, trafficking victims that qualify for T Visa, victims of violent crime to qualify for a U visa. Those that suffered extreme and extreme cruelty by their spouses, parents or children who are US citizens Green Card holders and applying under VAWA. It’s typically in domestic violence context. So VAWA, U visa T visa, special immigrant juvenile, and asylum. None of those five humanitarian basis to receive legal status are disqualified from this. Look back period is three years. What does that mean? If today my wife is applying for me, well if October 16, 2019, my wife is applying for me to get my Green Card. They’re going to look at from October 16th, 2019 to October 16th, 2016. 3 year look back period. If I receive benefits for 12 months or more. I’m going to be a public charge and I’m going to be inadmissible. So example, if I got food stamps and subsidized housing in January, July and November, that’s two points each month. Six points in total. It’s still a negative factor but I won’t be disqualified as a public charge automatically. It will be a factor as one of many. Now, what happens if I’ve already received public benefits or what happens if the government thinks I’m a public charge. Well I can apply for a bond, if you’re inadmissible because of this, you can apply for a bond, you pay for it to the government and it’s for an unlimited time and if you ever get assistance the government can collect the bond. Now we don’t know any details of how that’s gonna be, that’s what the regulations say. So any questions about this, the public charge that the first part of our segment, please put your comments below. Share it with others. There’s a lot of misinformation out there on public charge. A lot of people are panicking, look for the majority of our clients. This doesn’t affect them.