National WIC Association

Public Charge and Immigration Resources


On August 12, 2019, the Administration officially issued a final rule on public charge. Public charge evaluates whether an immigrant will depend on the government for support, and the test is applied when an immigrant applies for an adjustment of legal status (i.e., visa, green card, or legal permanent residency). For decades, this test considered only whether an immigrant would require cash benefits (TANF or SSI) or long-term institutionalization under Medicaid. The Administration’s recent changes – which don’t go into effect until October 2019 – significantly expand the public charge test by including some of the largest federal programs in the country, namely Medicaid, SNAP, and housing subsidies. WIC is not included in the final public charge rule.