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Public Charge Information/Resources

On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security amended federal regulations known as the “public charge rule.” The term “public charge” is used in immigration law to refer to a person who is primarily dependent on the government for support. The changes to the existing rule, effective October 15, 2019, will make it more difficult to apply for permanent residency or earn a visa if an applicant is dependent on government aid such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), housing assistance, and Medicaid.

Public education is not a public benefit as defined by the rule. Attending school will not impact a child’s or family member’s immigration status. K-12 school nutrition programs are also not impacted by the public charge rule. Local Education Agencies should continue to encourage families to complete meal application and alternative meal forms for free and reduced priced meals.

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