Changes to federal Public Charge rule

The Department of Homeland Security will not enforce the 2019 public charge rule. As a result, the 1999 interim field guidance on the public charge inadmissibility provision will now apply.  Under the 1999 Interim Guidance, the Department of Homeland Security and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will not consider receipt of Medi-Cal (except for long-term care, public housing or CalFresh as part of determining public charge inadmissibility.  Public cash assistance for income maintenance, including CalWORKs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants and general assistance/general relief.

However, receipt of benefits alone will not automatically cause a public charge determination.  Receipt of benefits is only one factor among several considered as part of the totality of circumstances determination for whether someone is likely to become a public charge.  Receipt of benefits by family or household members is not considered for public charge purposes.

Medical testing, treatment, and preventative services for COVID-19, including vaccines, is not considered for public charge purposes. (ACL 21-32, March 15, 2021.)