Home > Our Services > Immigrants + Benefits > Understanding Public Charge

This information is current as of August 12, 2019 Changes to public charge: What this means for immigrant access to public benefits

The federal government has announced a new “public charge” rule changing the way that receiving certain public benefits affects immigrants’ application for legal permanent residency (obtaining their “green card”). The soonest this rule could go into effect is in 60 days on October 15, 2019.

These changes do not affect who is eligible for public benefit programs that deliver support for health, nutrition, housing, employment, and child care. We want to help you continue to receive the assistance that you and your family are eligible to receive and need now.

Not all immigrants who receive public benefits will be impacted by these changes.

  • Who may be impacted: Only people applying for green cards and those seeking to enter the United States.
  • Who is not impacted:
    • Immigrants admitted through humanitarian programs, such as refugees and asylum seekers
    • Immigrants applying for citizenship or naturalized citizens
    • Immigrants who are not eligible to apply for a green card at this time

Know your rights. Get the facts. For questions about public charge and your benefits:

This page will be updated with additional details and translations as they become available.