Frequently Asked Questions | Feb 26, 2020

Public Charge Final Rule: Frequently Asked Questions

Patricia Boozang, Alice Lam, Allison Orris, and Elizabeth Dervan, Manatt Health

On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule, Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds. The rule makes significant changes to the standards DHS will use to determine whether an immigrant is likely to become a “public charge”—a person dependent on the government for support—which will have consequences for certain immigrants’ legal status.

In October 2019, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health and Value Strategies program hosted a webinar about the final rule, focusing in particular on how it could impact immigrants’ use of Medicaid and other health benefits. This document provides answers to frequently asked questions—including a number of questions raised during the webinar—about whom the rule will impact, what benefits are implicated by the rule, and how the rule might be administered.

Although the rule was originally scheduled to take effect on October 15, 2019, multiple preliminary injunctions issued by federal courts across the country blocked the rule last fall. A pair of decisions by the Supreme Court permitted the rule to go into effect nationwide on February 24. This document has been updated as of February 26, 2020 to reflect the most current information.