U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its public charge resources webpage “with more information to help reduce undue fear and confusion among immigrants and their families, including U.S. citizens and their children, that may prevent them from obtaining access to critical government services available to them.”
A question-and-answer section addresses concerns and misconceptions about the public charge ground of inadmissibility. For example, USCIS does not consider vaccines or public benefits specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic when making public charge determinations. “We encourage everyone, including noncitizens, to seek necessary medical care, including treatment or preventive services for COVID-19. Noncitizens may seek pandemic-related benefits and services (including food assistance, housing programs, and others) for which they are eligible—without fear of negative consequences to their immigration status.”
The updated content also “clarifies that relatively few noncitizens in the United States are both subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility and eligible for the public benefits considered under the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, including Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and programs (including Medicaid) supporting noncitizens who are institutionalized for long-term care at government expense,” USCIS said.