Public Charge and
Immigrant Seniors

LATEST UPDATE (September 17, 2020)

On September 11, a panel of judges in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit stayed the injunction blocking the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) public charge rule from being implemented in the Second Circuit during the COVID-19 health emergency. This decision follows a decision limiting the July 29th injunction issued by the Southern District of New York court to the Second Circuit. This means that the DHS public charge rule is once in again in effect nationwide. The litigation challenging the underlying merits of the DHS rule is ongoing.

On July 29th, the same district court also issued a nationwide preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the DOS Public Charge rule and the Health Insurance Proclamation indefinitely, beyond the national emergency related to the pandemic.

Please see this Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign website for more information. 

The new "Public Charge" test will make it harder for immigrant families to stay together and meet their basic needs.

By targeting low-income immigrant seniors who may need extra help from programs like Medicaid, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), changes to public charge will ensure that the American Dream is only available to immigrants who are healthy and wealthy and who do not have disabilities. The rule threatens the ability of immigrants to obtain permanent residency (green cards) if they have ever needed help, or are likely to need help, from certain government programs and make it difficult for multi-generational families to care for one another and succeed.

The Public Charge rule was published in August 2019 and is scheduled to take effect February 24, 2020. We are continuing to work in coalition to stop this rule from being implemented. Read our takeaways on the final rule.

Justice in Aging:

Key Takeaways on the Final Immigration Public Charge Rule

Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign:

Public Charge: A Threat to Immigrant Families–Updated August 2019

Changes to Public Charge: ANALYSIS AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – Updated January 27, 2020

Know Your Rights Community Facing Materials:

Getting the Help You Need (Available in Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese, French)

Let’s Talk About Public Charge (Available in Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese)

You Have Rights: Protect Your Health (Available in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Korean, Vietnamese)

Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

Public Charge Legal Services Toolkit

California Specific Resources:

California Health and Human Services Agency Public Charge Guide

CA Protecting Immigrant Families (CA PIF)

Center for Public Representation:

Resources on the rule’s impact on people with disabilities

Kaiser Family Foundation:

Changes to “Public Charge” Inadmissibility Rule: Implications for Health & Health Coverage

Litigation Challenging the Final Rule

Amicus Brief on the Final Rule’s Harms to Older Adults filed by Justice in Aging, American Society on Aging, Caring Across Generations, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, The Jewish Federations of North America , The National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, National Council on Aging, National Hispanic Council on Aging, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and PHI

Justice in Aging Files Amicus Brief Arguing that Final Public Charge Rule Illegally Targets Older Adults and Their Families

Public Charge Litigation Tracker

Preliminary Injunctions Issued October 14, 2019

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division

United States District Court, District of Maryland

Background Resources

Read Justice in Aging’s comments on the proposed rule. (submitted December 10, 2018)

Justice in Aging Issue Brief: Older Immigrants and Medicare

Justice in Aging Webinar: Immigrants’ Access to Healthcare and Other Public Benefits

ABA Commission on Law & Aging Bifocal Article: Older Immigrants’ Rough Road Map to Public Benefits

National Center on Law & Elder Rights Chapter Summary: Access to Public Benefits for Older Immigrants

Join the Conversation on Social Media

Follow #ProtectFamilies, @JusticeinAging, NILC_org and @CLASP_DC

Visit to learn about more partners in this effort. 

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