Updated October 11, 2019
On Friday, October 11th, a federal judge granted a nationwide preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by New York City, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and the States of Connecticut and Vermont.
This means the public charge rule is blocked from going into effect for now.
The court will continue to consider whether the “public charge” rule should be allowed to go into effect in the future, but that process will likely take months.
Check this page for updates on whether or not the rule is in effect.
Statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio:
"In New York City, we always stand up for our immigrant brothers and sisters. The court’s decision to halt the public charge rule from going into effect nationwide is only further proof of something we already know – the President’s policies are xenophobic and hateful, with no basis in fact or reality. We’ll continue to fight him every step of the way."
Statement from Commissioner Bitta Mostofi:
“The nationwide injunction granted today is a huge victory in our fight to prevent the public charge rule from taking effect and to protect the physical and mental health and well-being of immigrant communities across the nation. I am thrilled that the court recognized the harmful impact this rule would have on our immigrant families, and has stopped it from going into effect for now. New York City residents who have questions or concerns about public charge and the impact of public benefits on immigration can access city-funded, trusted legal help by calling ActionNYC at 311 or 1-800-354-0365 and saying 'public charge.'"
In August 2019, the federal government announced a new rule related to when certain immigrants might be considered a "public charge" under immigration law. It could prevent some immigrants from getting legal permanent residence status (also known as a green card) or a visa if they use certain public benefits or the federal government believes they are likely to depend on public benefits in the future. A court has blocked the rule from going into effect for now.
This page contains general information about “public charge” and how New Yorkers can get further information and assistance. The information below is for general educational purposes and is not legal advice.
Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.
What is "public charge"?
Currently, a "public charge" was is someone who relies on cash assistance or institutionalized long- term care from the government to survive. The only benefits that could can be considered under that test are:
Does the new "public charge" rule change affect eligibility requirements for public benefits?
Doesn't the federal government already have a "public charge" test?
Yes. Currently, a "public charge" is someone who relies on cash assistance or institutionalization for long-term care from the government to survive. The only benefits that can be considered under that test are:
In addition to use of these public benefits, federal law also requires the government to look at a number of factors – including age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills – to determine whether someone is likely to become a "public charge."
This policy is still in place. On October 11th, a court blocked the new “public charge” rule from going into effect for now.
Did the federal government propose changes to its current "public charge" immigration policy?
Yes. On August 14, 2019, the federal government published its final "public charge" rule change. The rule is not yet in effect. A court has blocked it from going into effect for now. If the rule goes into effect in the future, the federal government will officially:
I have children or family members in my household who use some public benefits. Could that hurt my immigration application?
No. First, the new rule is not in effect. A court has blocked it from going into effect for now. Second, under the new rule, public benefits or programs used by the children or family members of an applicant for a green card or visa would not be counted against the applicant in the "public charge" test unless the applicant is a beneficiary of those benefits or programs.
However, under the new rule, if it were to go into effect, federal officials would use a new framework to consider factors like age, family size, household income, and assets in determining whether certain immigrants are likely to use benefits in the future.
I am a refugee. Does public charge apply to me?
No. Under both current law and the new rule, there is generally no "public charge" test if you are a refugee or asylee. There are also other statuses not listed here that may not be subject to public charge. See below for information on how to get your questions answered, and connect to free legal services.
I have questions about how "public charge" might apply to me. How can I get legal help?
You can call the City-funded ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365 and say "public charge" from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday, to learn more and get answers to your questions.
Download and print our Half-Page Public Charge Outreach flyer.
Download and print our Full-Page Public Charge Outreach flyer.
Fact Sheet: SNAP Enrollment Trends in New York City
Download the fact sheet
Expanding Public Charge Inadmissibility: The Impact on Immigrants, Households, and the City of New York
Download the research brief