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Expansion of "Public Charge" Classification for Immigrants Proposed

Last week, the federal Department of Homeland Security proposed an expansion of the grounds for denying admission to the United States and adjustments of immigration status to legal permanent resident status. Under current law, an individual may be denied admission or legal permanent resident status if he or she is likely to be a “public charge,” or primarily dependent on government support. The proposed rule would expand the public benefits that trigger a public charge determination to include health, nutrition, and housing programs.

Accordingly, under the proposed rule, use of Medicaid benefits, food stamps, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, or public housing would, for the first time, potentially disqualify an immigrant from receiving a "green card." The proposed rule also specifies additional negative factors that may justify a public charge determination, including having income below 125 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($25,975 for a family of three as of 2018).

LeadingAge is analyzing the proposed rule to determine its implications for the long term care workforce and for Medicaid utilization. The proposed regulations are subject to public comment here through Dec. 10, 2018.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8383 ext. 124