DHS Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility – Final Rule (September 9, 2022) [pdf]

This Federal Register publication (87 Fed. Reg. 55472 September 9, 2022) contains the final public charge rule and its regulatory history. This public charge rule was issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and provides clarity and consistency for noncitizens on how DHS will administer the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The rule restores the historical understanding of a ‘public charge’ that had been in place for decades confirming that receipt of public health benefits such as Medicaid and nutritional assistance are not part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.

Under this rule, as under the 1999 Interim Field Guidance that was in place for most of the past two decades, a noncitizen would be considered likely to become a public charge if DHS determines that they are likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. This determination will be based on:
• The noncitizen’s “age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills,” as required by the INA;
• The filing of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, submitted on a noncitizen’s behalf when one is required; and
• The noncitizen’s prior or current receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI); cash assistance for income maintenance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); State, Tribal, territorial, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance”); or long-term institutionalization at government expense.

DHS will not consider in public charge determinations benefits received by family members other than the applicant. DHS will also not consider receipt of certain non-cash benefits for which noncitizens may be eligible. These benefits include: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other nutrition programs, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid (other than for long-term institutionalization), housing benefits, any benefits related to immunizations or testing for communicable diseases, or other supplemental or special-purpose benefits.