Changes to Public Charge- 
The Office of Community Affairs Immigrant Services is deeply concerned about the changes to the federal immigration rule called “Public Charge,” that will be published on August 14, 2019, which defines how an immigrant resident’s application to enter the country or receive a green card is assessed. The change significantly expands what public benefits are considered (e.g., Medi‐Cal, CalFresh, public housing or Section 8 vouchers) in determining whether an immigrant resident is defined as likely to be a public charge.
According to the Department of Homeland Security the new rule will not take effect until October 15, 2019. The County encourages residents to continue accessing the public benefits and services that remain available to them and to contact our office with any questions.Maintaining health benefits in order to remain healthy and employable is important and being employed is viewed as a positive factor in assessing public charge. 
What Clients Should Know
  • The new rule interprets a provision of the Immigration and National Act pertaining to inadmissibility.
  • The inadmissibility ground at issue states that a person is inadmissible if they are likely to become a public charge.
  • This law only applies to individuals seeking admission into the United States or applying for adjustment of status.
  • This law does not apply to designated humanitarian-based immigration programs for refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Juveniles, certain traficking victims, victims of qualifying criminal activity, or victims of domestic violence.
  • Public charge and this rule do not apply in the naturalization process.
The California Health and Human Services Agency issued a Public Charge Guide on September 2019.

Helpful Resources

View video in Spanish, Tagalog, or Chinese »

What is Public Charge? 1 page fact sheet in English, Arabic, Aermenian, Farsi, Khmer, Korean, Russian, Traditional & Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese (Health Consumer Alliance)

Updated: Public Charge: Getting the help you need and how do the changes affect you (Protecting Immigrant Families- August 2019)

Public Charge Screening test (The Legal Aid Soceity of San Mateo County)

Public Charge 2-Pager in English, Spanish, and Chinese (The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County)

How to Talk About Public Charge with Immigrants & Their Families  (National Immigration Law Center)

Core messages about Public Charge (Protecting Immigrant Families)

An overview of Public Charge (The ILRC)

Public Charge 101 Webinar  (Protecting Immigrant Families)