New Public Charge Rule May Increase Uninsured

A recent change in immigration policy where public benefits are concerned will likely have far-reaching ramifications for men, women, and children who depend on Medicaid and CHIP for basic healthcare services. The rule change makes it more difficult for an individual who is likely to become a “public charge” reliant on any number of public services to receive permanent legal status in the United States.

In Pennsylvania alone, more than 9,000 lawful, non-citizen immigrants were receiving benefits as of June 2019. Those who continue to do so risk jeopardizing the possibility of receiving permanent legal status. For these individuals and families, they could be forced to make a choice between a green card and essential services like food assistance and medical care.

The population likely to be most affected by the recent “public charge” rule change are the thousands of immigrants with temporary protected status or stays on their deportation or removal proceedings who chose to forego public assistance for fear of jeopardizing their status. Yet immigration experts fear the impact of the change will be more far-reaching – causing those who would not necessarily be impacted by the rule to refrain from seeking benefits simply out of fear.

There is also the fear that parents will confuse which programs are affected by the change and decline enrollment in CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) although enrollment does not have a public charge designation. This could potentially leave thousands of children without health insurance, even those that are US–born citizens.

Antoinette, Kraus, director with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network has already seen an increase in disenrollment in public programs simply out of fear of what it may mean for their families to utilize these services. She asserts these are tax-paying members of their communities who are here lawfully and deserve access to these benefits.

The change is scheduled to take effect this October and will not affect those with asylum or refugee status or those who already have green cards.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Help Clients Access the Public Benefits they Deserve

While the public charge rule change certainly will inevitably make it difficult for many men, women, and children to access services like Medicaid and subsidized public housing, it is important to learn more about the change before disenrolling or deferring these important services. To learn more about how this change will impact you and your family, schedule a consultation with the caring, knowledgeable Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C.

Immigration laws seem to be continually changing, but we are always on top of the latest updates and regulations. We will evaluate your situation and determine if you can be considered a public charge based on the services you are utilizing, and if these benefits will have any negative effect on your status.

Call 215-925-4435 or use the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a multilingual Philadelphia immigration lawyer. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly represent individuals and families throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide.