Public Charge

Some people avoid using public benefits because they think it will prevent them from getting a green card or becoming a citizen.  

The truth is that many immigrants can get public benefits without impacting their immigration status! 

Important Facts to Know!


The public charge rule changed in December 2022. All changes are positive for immigrants! The new rule confirms that using CalFresh, Medi-Cal (except for long-term care in a nursing home), Section 8 and public housing will not affect your immigration status now or in the future. You can use these benefits without fear to keep your family healthy and safe!


Many immigrants are exempt from the public charge test! This includes people who already have their green card (unless they have been outside of the US for longer than 180 days in a row).


Your eligible children’s use of public benefits will not affect your ability to get a green card or become a citizen.


BAILA Network enrollers, promotores, and lawyers can answer your questions and help you get the benefits you need to keep your family healthy and safe!

You can also use the Keep Your Benefits guide to learn more about whether the test may apply to you.

If the public charge test does apply to you, speak with a trusted BAILA Network partner to learn which benefits programs you may be eligible for.

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Learn more in our Frequently Asked Questions