Policy Update

Policy Update: ‘Public Charge’ Rule Officially Proposed

Following up on her article last month about the leaked information regarding proposed changes to the ‘Public Charge’ rule to include SNAP use, Tiffany Liu gives a quick update on the now officially proposed changes.

The public charge proposed rule is becoming official. Just last weekend on Saturday, September 22 – the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a press release and made the full proposed rule text available to the public. The DHS Secretary signed the proposed rule the day before on Friday, September 21.

What is next?

An official version of the proposed rule will become published in the Federal Register. So far, this has not happened yet. Once published in the Federal Register, there will be a 60-day public comment period made available for individuals and organizations to respond before any talks of a final published rule.

How has the public charge determination expanded?

Under the current rule, only use of cash assistance programs (such as SSI, TANF) and long-term institutional care can count toward a public charge determination.

However, this new proposed rule has included many more public assistance programs in which participation can count negatively toward a non-citizen’s application for lawful permanent residency status (i.e. green card).

The main key additional programs are:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Non-emergency Medicaid

Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy

Public housing, Section 8 housing vouchers

Differences between leaked information and officially proposed rule

Looking at the text of the proposed rule, programs such as WIC and Head Start are not included.

Also contrary to information circulated in the press earlier, public benefits used by an immigrant’s family members will not affect a public charge determination.

For more information, resources, analysis, and updates on the new public charge policy – keep up with the Protecting Immigrant Families, Advancing Our Future Campaign and sign up for their listserv.


Tiffany Liu is a second-year FPAN MS candidate. She is particularly interested in federal nutrition assistance policy and programming. She interned in Dallas this summer with CHILDREN AT RISK, a Texas research and advocacy organization focused on improving education, parenting, human trafficking, and health/nutrition state policies.

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The Friedman Sprout is a monthly student run newspaper that aims to serve the student population at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, prospective students, and alumni. Our mission is to report on newsworthy information that affects the Friedman community including nutrition research, food policy, internship and volunteer opportunities, as well as school events. Our editorial slant is that of sustainability in food and nutrition.

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