Public Charge



The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that prevention, testing, or receiving treatment for COVID-19 will NOT be considered in public charge determinations under the new public charge test.

USCIS has also confirmed that immigrants will have the opportunity to argue their case if their use of public assistance during the COVID-19 crisis is not an accurate reflection of their ability to support themselves in normal circumstances.

Please continue seeking support during this crisis — the health and wellbeing of your family is important! For additional support on the new public charge test and accessing healthcare during COVID-19, please visit the National Immigration Law Center’s Access to Healthcare page.


[Update January 31, 2020]

IMPLEMENTATION DATE CONFIRMED: Per USCIS, the final rule will ONLY apply to applications submitted on or after February 24, 2020.

Medicaid, SNAP (“Food Stamps”), HUD public housing, and “Section 8” housing and other benefits affected by the rule that are received BEFORE February 24, 2020 will NOT be considered in the public charge determination.

*Medicaid, EXCEPT FOR emergency services, children under 21 years, pregnant women and new mothers up to 60 days after pregnancy ends.

For more information on which benefits are included in the final rule, please refer to our updated road map resource.