On September 22, 2018, DHS released the draft rule regarding the effect of using public benefits for immigrants applying for permanent residency. Any benefits used before the rule goes into effect will not affect the application. The rule will not be final for a few more months. Additionally, the rule makes exceptions for some programs such as emergency Medicaid, disaster assistance such as FEMA, and SNAP benefits used by children. DHS is still considering whether to count CHIP benefits as part of the rule. A key change to the draft rule is that an applicant will not be punished for benefits that their U.S. citizen child receives.
It is important to remember that the rule does not automatically ban the use of public benefits. The ultimate decision will depend on individual factors such as family size, assets, education, age, and income. The rule provides a complicated formula for how much support an immigrant can receive before damaging her chances for a future green card.
This information is intended to update the previous post, “Will receiving public benefits affect my immigration case?”.