DHS’s Public Charge Final Rule In Effect as of December 23, 2022
On Dec. 23, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility final rule went into effect. This final rule, which was previously announced, provides clarity and consistency for noncitizens on how DHS will administer the public charge ground of inadmissibility. Per the DHS, this final rule restores the historical understanding of a “public charge” that had been in place for decades before the previous administration began to consider supplemental public health benefits such as Medicaid and nutritional assistance as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.
When making a public charge inadmissibility determination under this final rule, DHS will consider an applicant’s “age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; education and skills;” a sufficient Affidavit of Support Under Section 213Aof the INA (when one is required); and 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.
DHS will not consider receipt of noncash benefits (for example, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, public housing, school lunch programs, etc.) other than long-term institutionalization at government expense.
USCIS published a Policy Manual update providing guidance to its officers on how to implement this regulation fairly and consistently and informing the public about how the rule will be implemented. USCIS began applying the policy guidance (PDF, 1.55 MB) on Dec. 23, 2022, to applications filed (or electronically submitted, if applicable) on or after that date.