Public Charge & Immigrant Rights

Public Charge InformationPublic Charge Handout

What to know about the public charge rule


The  Department of Homeland Security finalized a “public charge” regulation that changes the way that immigration officials determine whether a person is eligible to receive a green card (or become a lawful permanent resident) or immigrate to the United States.

Under the new rule, immigration officials will look more closely at factors like health, age, income, skills (including English language skills), and the use public programs. Under the new regulation, the public programs include:

  • Public Housing or Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) housing assistance
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or “Food Stamps”)
  • Cash assistance programs including SSI, TANF, and General Assistance
  • Medicaid (except for emergency services, children under 21 years, pregnant women and new mothers)

The public charge rule does not impact your eligibility for housing assistance or other programs. However, under the new rule, receipt of Public Housing or Section 8 housing assistance after October 15, 2019 will be included in the public charge test.

Public Charge: Does This Apply to Me? Handout



Contact Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) (206) 816-3893 or (888) 493-4273 before making any decisions about your housing assistance or housing application.

For a full list of groups that can help, visit Immigration Advocates's Legal Services Directory