The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that the federal government will no longer enforce the Public Charge Rule. This means that immigrants can access health, housing, and nutrition programs, such as Medi-Cal (except for long-term institutional care), public housing, and CalFresh benefits, without fear of a negative impact on their immigration status. Furthermore, benefits received by family members other than the applicant will not be considered in public charge determinations.
The new Public Charge rulings overturn regulations from 2019 that defined a public charge as an individual “who receives one or more public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).” In general, the 2019 regulations broadened the scope of programs that the federal government would consider in public charge determinations.
We at My Health LA are optimistic that the 2022 changes to the Public Charge Rule will help close the gaps in health coverage for immigrant families by allaying distrust in government services and encouraging eligible uninsured immigrants to sign up for health coverage in services such as My Health LA and Medi-Cal. For additional information or questions regarding Public Charge, you may contact the Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs at (800) 593-8222 or visit oia.lacounty.gov.