Public Charge


Public Charge is a term used by immigration officials to identify people who may depend on government benefits as their main source of support. If the government identifies you as a public charge, you can be denied admission to the U.S. or refused an application for lawful permanent residency. The following immigrant groups are not considered for Public Charge:
  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • Survivors of trafficking, domestic violence, or other serious crimes
  • Special immigrant juveniles and more
Under the current policy, the following benefits determine who is likely to become a “Public Charge”:
  • People who require Government-funded long-term care.
  • People who require cash assistance programs, such as SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).
Immigration officials are also required to look at all other factors, including, age, health, income, assets, resources, education, familiy to support, and a family who will support them.
If the proposed rules are finalized, the following benefits could now be considered in a “Public Charge” determination:
  • Non-emergency Medicaid
  • WIC
  • Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) / CALFRESH