We hope the following information package will be helpful in understanding effects of the federal rule change about ‘public charge,’ immigration and receiving public benefits.
On January 27, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision allowing the Trump Administration’s public charge rule change, which targets legal immigrant families and individuals, to take effect on February 24, 2020, while a lower court considered the legality of the rule. On August 4, 2020, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the rule is likely not legal and should be put on hold in Connecticut, Vermont and New York. However, the rule remains in place while the Supreme Court considers whether to review the Second Circuit’s decision.
Connecticut is one of the states continuing to fight this rule change in the courts. In the meantime, the following is a summary of information points and links to further resources.
Please keep in mind…
If a family or individual currently is eligible for and receives public benefits, you will NOT lose those benefits as a result of the new public charge rule.
The new public charge rule only applies for people seeking entry to the U.S. or who are going to adjust their immigration status (for example, apply for a green card).
Under the new rule, federal immigration officials can consider whether the applicant has used certain benefit programs such as:
- HUSKY Health/Medicaid (age 21 and older);
- SNAP (Food Stamps);
- Cash assistance: SSI, TANF/TFA, State-Administered General Assistance; and
- Section 8 Housing and other federal public housing assistance.
Federal immigration officials will use the new rule to decide if a person is a public charge when a non-citizen attempts to:
- Legally enter the United States;
- Obtain a green card;
- Extend a current visa; or
- Adjust an existing visa from one type to another.
What programs do not count toward a public charge determination?
- HUSKY Health/Medicaid/CHIP for children & youth under age 21
- HUSKY Health/Medicaid for pregnant/post-partum women
- Qualified Health Plans with Advance Premium Tax Credits
- Emergency Medicaid
- LIHEAP energy assistance
- School lunch and breakfast programs
- Child care subsidies
- School-based health services
- Head Start and public education
Please note: The new rule does not apply to immigrants who have already obtained a green card, except in very limited circumstances. It also does not apply to non-citizens who have been granted legal status in the United States for humanitarian reasons, such as refugees, asylees, U- and T-visa holders, children seeking special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status, and petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act.
- Please follow this link for the Department of Social Services ‘Public Charge Advisory,’ with contributions from Greater Hartford Legal Aid and 2-1-1.
- Please follow this link for reference chart titled, ‘Does the Public Charge Rule Apply to Me?’ prepared by Greater Hartford Legal Aid with support from CT DSS.
- Please follow this link for ‘Frequently Asked Questions: Final Public Charge Rule,’ by the American Public Human Services Association.
Please check back to this page for updates as they become available.
Connecticut Department of Social Services