USCIS has announced new public charge rule to be published in the final register. The new rule tries to steer clear of being labeled a “wealth test”. Non-cash benefits like SNAP, Child Health Insurance, most Medicaid, housing benefits, are no longer part of public charge determination.
The final rule will be effective on Dec. 23, 2022, and will apply to applications postmarked (or electronically submitted) on or after that date.
Under this rule, as under the 1999 Interim Field Guidance that was in place for most of the past two decades, a noncitizen would be considered likely to become a public charge if DHS determines that they are likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. This determination will be based on:
- The noncitizen’s “age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills,” as required by the INA;
- The filing of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, submitted on a noncitizen’s behalf when one is required; and
- The noncitizen’s prior or current receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI); cash assistance for income maintenance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); State, Tribal, territorial, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance”); or long-term institutionalization at government expense.