Public Charge Rule

The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) reminds immigrant communities and stakeholders that the “public charge” regulation that took effect in December 2022 increases protections for immigrant households seeking public benefit programs and services. This is especially important in light of the expansion of full-scope Medi-Cal to all income-eligible Californians regardless of immigration status as of January 1, 2024.

The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services do not consider receipt of health, food, and housing benefits as part of a public charge determination. Therefore, using Medi-Cal benefits (except for residential nursing home or mental health institution care) will not impact an individual’s immigration status.

See below for answers to frequently asked questions about public charge. If you have additional questions, contact OIA at 800-593-822 to speak with a counselor.

 Updated Jan. 9, 2024

Timeline and Implementation

December 23, 2022: Department of Homeland Security implements new public charge regulation.

September 8, 2022: Biden Administration announces new public charge regulation that increases protections for immigrant families.

March 9, 2021: The Biden Administration ends the Trump era public charge rule and returns to the longstanding 1999 public charge policy.

February 22, 2021: The Supreme Court agrees to hear new legal challenges filed to stop the 2019 public charge rule due to its public health impact during the pandemic.

February 24, 2020: After several courts block implementation of the Trump Administration public charge rule, the U.S. Supreme Court overturns those decisions and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services begins implementing the new rule.

August 2019: Trump Administration announces public charge regulation, scheduled to take effect in October 2019.

Skip to content