Public Charge Rule

Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs Welcomes Public Charge Rule Change Announcement

La Oficina de Asuntos de Inmigrantes del Condado de Los Ángeles da la bienvenida al anuncio de cambio de regla de carga pública.

The Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) praises the implementation of the new “public charge” regulation, which went into effect on December 23, 2022. Public Charge is a “test” that immigration officials use to determine whether a noncitizen will be dependent on the government for support. This evaluation is made when a person applies for legal permanent resident (“green card”) status or to enter the United States.

This new U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule strengthens protections for immigrant families seeking to access critical programs, resources and services offered by the County of Los Angeles and public agencies throughout the country.

While the Biden administration reversed the Trump era public charge policy in March 2021, this new rule clarifies which programs are considered in a public charge test, as well as the many important programs and resources not considered in the test. For example, a child or other family member’s use of safety net programs will not affect the immigration status of a relative or household member under the new rule.

This rule change is an important reminder that eligible immigrants and their household members can use housing, nutrition, and health care programs without concern about their immigration status. This is especially important in light of California’s recent expansion of Medi-Cal to all income-eligible persons who are 50 years old or older, regardless of immigration status. The new rule clarifies that only long-term institutionalized care at government expense or use of cash assistance for income maintenance such as SSI, TANF (CalWorks), and state, local and tribal cash assistance, may be considered in a public charge determination.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the Public Charge Rule now in effect, please contact OIA at 800-593-822 to speak with a counselor.

Updated Dec. 30, 2022

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.

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