Understanding Public Charge

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March 2021 Update
2019 Public Charge Rule No Longer in Effect

GREAT NEWS: Use of programs like SNAP, federal housing assistance, or Medicaid will no longer be negatively factored into public charge assessments. This means eligible immigrant families should continue to access public benefits related to health and housing. 

On March 9, 2021, The U.S. Department of Justice decided to stop defending the 2019 revision of the public charge rule which had been challenged in various courts across the nation. The end result is the public charge rule that has frightened many people from accessing public benefits is no longer in effect. Use of programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), federal housing assistance, or Medicaid will no longer be negatively factored into public charge assessments.

To learn more about the public programs being considered in the current public charge determination rule and to assist clients and families, you can:

  1. Let them know that the new rule is not retroactive and a myriad of factors (totality of circumstances) are considered when making a public charge determination.
  2. Encourage them to seek legal counsel for individual circumstances or outstanding concerns.

What is Public Charge?

Public charge is a test used by immigration officials to determine who can become legal permanent resident. Historically, an applicant for residency is deemed a public charge if they are likely to depend on cash assistance (TANF, SSI, and other state cash assistance) or institutional long-term care to support themselves.

More information is available

The Protecting Immigrant Families website contains multiple resources to learn more about what these immigration policies mean for you, your family and your community. Several links to resources from this website are below:

Know Your Rights

Special Resources 

Analysis & Research

How is the Tulsa community involved?

In 2019, the Community Service Council, YWCA Tulsa, and Hunger Free Oklahoma came together to join a national campaign known as the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign to lift up immigrant voices and advocate for humane immigration policies in the Tulsa community.

As official Protecting Immigrant Families Partner Organizations, these three organizations represent Tulsa among hundreds of diverse organizations from across the nation. Partner Organizations focus on employing innovative advocacy strategies, distributing educational resources, and keeping allies informed of all the current and potential policies that impact immigrant families.

Learn more about the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign