IMPORTANT: Seeking medical attention for COVID-19 will NOT affect public charge eligibility in the future.

If you think the public charge rule might apply to you, please seek advice from a lawyer before dis-enrolling from public programs. 

Call EBSC at 510-540-5296 or email:

Informational Videos on Public Charge

Informational flyers on public charge

What is the “Public charge” rule and how might it affect you?

  • The new rule does not apply to green card applications filed before February 24, 2020.
  • The new “public charge” rule would link a person’s immigration status to their income, age, educational attainment, health and use of certain public programs such as SSI, Food Stamps, TANF, Medicaid, and some housing programs. It would give the Department of Homeland Security authority to deny applicants green cards, visas, or entry into the U.S. if there is a risk they will use these government-funded programs.
  • This new rule primarily applies to people who are seeking residency through family petition. It also applies to permanent residents who seek readmission to the U.S. after traveling abroad 180 days or more while receiving public benefits, and a few more categories.
  • Even if you are applying for residency through your family member, most public benefit programs included in the new rule are not available to undocumented immigrants.
  • And of course, benefits received by your US citizen children and other family members don’t count.


On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a rule related to public charge. While some counties immediately filed a lawsuit to block the new rule, the rule was upheld by the courts and took effect on February 24, 2020.

EBSC opposes this new rule, which will have a huge and detrimental impact on working families who are low-income, advanced age, and may be suffering from chronic illness. Please call your representatives to oppose this attack on immigrants.