Many legal immigrants worry that if they receive any public benefits, the United States Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS) or State Department will make a determination that they are likely to become a "public charge."
According to 64 Fed. Reg. 28689, a "public charge" is an immigrant who is likely to become "primarily dependent on the government for subsistence." Although a determination that an immigrant is likely to become a public charge could have grave immigration consequences (such as denial of an application for permanent residency (Green Card), the majority of immigrants who have already been admitted to the United States , more specifically, those who are legal permanent residents (LPRs) will most likely never be subject to a public charge determination.
USCIS Guidance Narrowly Limits the Types of Public Benefits that are Relevant to a Public Charge Determination
To stay away from becoming a public charge, immigrants should shun benefits that provide cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care. The sort of benefit you may utilize without becoming a public charge depends on your immigration status.
Every program has its own eligibility requirements that must be satisfied before participation in the program or before receiving benefits. Each state has different rules and different benefits. You have to check each state agency to determine what is available and who qualifies.
Public Benefits for recent Immigrants Applying for Permanent Residence
Legal permanent residents (green card holders) will keep their status through public charge if they use the following services:
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