Please tell your clients, co-workers, neighbors and friends- the Public Charge Rule has changed!

As of March 15, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security will return to using the policies that were in place prior to the 2019 rule.

This means that the Department of Homeland Security WILL NOT consider a person’s use of Medi-Cal, public housing support, or Cal Fresh benefits as part of a ‘public charge inadmissibility determination’.  Any medical treatments or preventive service for Covid-19 will also not be considered.

Public Charge is a designation that defines a non-citizen as "likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either (i) the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or (ii) institutionalization for long term care at government expense.” Those policies are outlined in the 1999 interim field guidance.

The 2019 Public Charge Final Rule had changed the definition so that accessing medical care, food support, and housing support could also be used to determine someone’s likelihood of becoming dependent on the government for subsistence. That change further restricted immigrant access to services; causing hardship, and impacting the health of many California residents, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Immigrants and their loved ones across California can seek and accept medical care, food assistance and public housing without fear or confusion about public charge consequences, thanks to changes in federal policy”. -California Health and Human Services Leaders

Here is the March 2021 California Public Charge Guide in English, and in Spanish. This is a great handout to help families and clients understand the changes.

Here is a list of nonprofit organizations providing legal immigration services on the California Department of Social Services website.
“To immigrant families in California, we want you to know that California fought to end this shameful policy and you should continue to use available public services that help you and your family thrive and be healthy. Remember that medical testing, treatment and preventative services for COVID-19, including vaccines, will not be considered for public charge purposes.”

To providers across California administering health and social services programs, thank you! We are grateful for all you do to ensure that everyone has access to basic services. Your efforts further our collective work to build a healthy, vibrant, and inclusive California for All.”

That includes all of you, CPSP providers and staff!
Liz George, RN, PHN, HNB-BC, IBCLC
Senior Public Health Nurse
Perinatal Services Coordinator
Maternal Child and Adolescent Health Coordinator
625 5th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Desk 707-565-4554
Cell 707-888-4202
Fax 707-565-4430
Sonoma County Maternal Child and Adolescent Health | Website