public-policy newsletter

Public Charge Legislation Update

April 22, 2022

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a new public charge inadmissibility standard to replace the 2019 rule that was vacated in March of 2021. The proposed rule would provide more fair treatment for noncitizens requesting admission to the US or applying for permanent residency and would shift the definition of “likely at any time to become a public charge” to “likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.” More importantly, DHS proposes that noncash benefits such as food and nutrition assistance programs (including SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), most Medicaid benefits, housing benefits, and transportation vouchers would not count against an individual for eligibility. DHS would also not consider other supports such as disaster assistance received under the Stafford Act, pandemic assistance, Social Security and other earned benefits.

The National Assembly has closely followed the issue and submitted public comments in 2018 opposing the rule. The efforts of human service providers across the country in making their voices heard on the issue has not gone unnoticed, as is evidenced by the vacation of the rule and the new proposal for consideration. National Human Services Assembly supports a revision of the rule and will consider additional action during the public comment period in the coming weeks.