Health For All Solano: We Welcome All

At Solano Public Health, we welcome all people who live, learn and play in Solano County, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or immigration status.

Para español, haga clic aquí.

Access to Health Care for Immigrant Populations

INFORMATION ABOUT PUBLIC CHARGE

What is Public Charge?

Public Charge is an immigration law that allows federal authorities to deny legal status to individuals dependent on the government for certain types of benefits. Receiving government benefits is just one of a variety of factors used for immigration decisions. For decades, this test considered only whether an immigrant would require cash benefits (TANF or SSI), CalWORKs or long-term care, paid by the government.

What is happening to the Public Charge rule?

The Administration proposed changes that would expand the Public Charge rule to include other benefit programs, such as Medi-Cal, Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy, Cal-Fresh (Food Stamps), Public Housing and Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Rental Assistance. WIC is NOT listed in the proposed rule.

Has the Public Charge rule changed?

As of today, nothing has changed. Changing this law will take several months. The following must occur before chances to the Public Charge rule is made:

  • Proposed changes must be published by the Federal Register (occurred October 10, 2018);
  • A 60-day comment period must occur (deadline set for December 10, 2018);
  • The administration must review submitted comments;
  • A final rule must be issued and will be deemed effective 60 days after the issuance of the final rule
What action can I take about the proposed Public Charge rule change?

Make your voice heard -- submit a public comment before the law gets finalized! The public comment period is October 10 - December 10, 2018. To submit a public comment, click here. Your name is the only information required to submit a comment.

Additional information about the proposed rule
  • The changes are not immediately effective. The proposed regulation would not become legally effective until 60 days after a final rule is issued.
  • A final rule cannot be issued until after a 60-day comment period (the deadline for the comment period is December 10, 2018). Therefore, we are not expecting this rule to be finalized until 2019.
  • The rule does not target benefit use by family members. Prior drafts would have punished an immigrant if their dependents – including US citizen children – accessed a public benefit. That provision has been removed from the September 2018 draft.
  • The rule does not apply to all immigrants. The public charge rule does not apply to certain groups of immigrants, namely: those applying for citizenship in a naturalization proceeding; undocumented individuals; and certain groups of humanitarian immigrants (refugees, asylum-seekers, Violence Against Women Act self-petitioners, Temporary Protected Status, etc.).
  • The rule is not retroactive. Immigration officials will not consider use of benefits that predates the rule’s applicable date. Therefore, those who are accessing affected programs now are not likely to be penalized in a public charge determination for their current use.

Important Reminder for Staff

Staff should NOT be offering advice to individual applicants or continuing participants who inquire about the immigration consequences of participation in public benefits programs. Immigration advice may only be provided by authorized experts. There are many factors which determine whether a person may be considered a public charge. Everyone's case is unique and requires review by a qualified legal professional.

Resources

Public Charge Rule

Protecting Immigrant Families

Resources for WIC Clients