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PUBLIC CHARGE: What you need to know about the new rule, effective Feb. 24

On February 24, 2020, USCIS will implement its final Public Charge rule. This rule makes it mandatory for non-immigrant visa applicants and green card applicants to disclose information regarding receipt of public benefits, such as food stamps and Medicaid, as part of their visa and green card applications.

Under the Public Charge Rule, applicants are "likely to become a public charge" if they received one or more public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36 month period. Receiving two benefits during one month counts as two months of benefit receipt for the purpose of this rule. USCIS will consider an applicant's receipt of the following government benefits under this rule:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

  • Other federal, state or local cash benefit programs (i.e. general assistance)

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps)

  • Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program

  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance

  • Medicaid

  • Section 9 Public Housing

This rule will only affect applications and petitions filed after February 24, 2020. The rule is not retroactive and previously filed cases and cases that are currently pending do not have to include this additional information. Only non-cash public benefits received after February 24, 2020 will be considered under this rule. Applicants do not need to report receiving or applying to receive benefits before February 24, 2020.

If you have questions regarding the Public Charge Rule and its affect on your immigration matters, please contact Ayla Adomat, Esq. at for a consultation.

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