LAW CORNER WITH JC 23 พฤษภาคม 2563

IMMIGRATION'S PUBLIC CHARGE RULE AS IT RELATES TO CLAIMING UNEMPLOYMENT AND RECEIVING GOVERNMENT STIMULUS CHECKS

Hello everyone! In this week's article, I will be discussing the different Government benefits that may or may not affect you when it comes to applying for Immigration benefits. I have received numerous calls from those currently wishing to apply for unemployment but are hesitant because they are worried that doing so may negatively affect their application/petitions with Immigration. If you follow me on Facebook, then you will have seen my March 5th and 14th post about Immigration's new law on Public Charge. If you don't follow me, you should because I often post important information in real time. Anyhow, for those that have not seen my FB post or have, but have forgotten, I will review the law here in this article.

Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

On February 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security implemented the Public Charge rule, directing USCIS under the Immigration and Nationality Act Section 212(a)(4) to make a determination of whether or not an applicant seeking to adjust their status to lawful permanent residency (Green card), those seeking to extend their visas, or a change of status, are a "public charge" or not. In general, if you are found to be a "public charge", your application/petition will be denied. Under the applicable law, you will be deemed "inadmissible on public charge" grounds. (Note: This law does not affect those already holding green cards, unless you leave the country for over 6 months and attempt to return after that period. In addition, if you are already in possession of a green card, although you may not be in jeopardy under this rule, you may find it more difficult to sponsor your family members to come to the United States later).

A public charge is someone who primarily depends on government benefits to sustain themselves. If you are currently receiving or have received certain public benefits in the past, or even if officials think you will receive them in the future, you will be deemed a "public charge" and your application or petition will be denied.

What Public Benefits are Considered under this Rule?

"Public benefits" as it applies to the Public Charge rule includes both cash and non-cash assistance that is generated by public tax money. Per https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-processes-and-procedures/public-charge, some examples of those benefits to be considered and not considered under the rule are:

Considered Under the Rule

Supplemental Security Income

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (Cal-Fresh/Food Stamps)

Federally-funded Medicaid / Medi-Cal (with certain exclusions)

Section 8 Housing Assistance (Housing Choice Voucher)

Section 8 Project-based Rental Assistance

Public Housing (under the Housing Act of 1937)


Not Considered Under the Rule

Emergency medical assistance

Disaster Relief

National School Lunch Programs

Medicaid for Emergency, or those under 21, etc

Special Supplemental Nutrition (for Women,Infants and Children)

Children's Health Insurance Program / Head Start


COVID-19 and Requesting Unemployment Benefits and Receiving Stimulus Checks

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has impacted everyone, either directly or indirectly. From stress regarding our individual health to the financial impact it has had on the economy, we all have felt this pandemic one way or another. Many are sick and have lost loved ones. Many have lost jobs or have been restricted either in workload or earnings. I know many of you are worried about seeking unemployment benefits, ie., applying to EDD for financial assistance, and receiving government stimulus checks because you are worried it will negatively affect your immigration applications or petitions. Read on to find out my answers.

Will Receiving Unemployment Benefits Affect My Immigration Application/Petition?

NO. Per USCIS in its final rule on inadmissibility on public charge grounds unemployment benefits are NOT considered by USCIS when determining whether an applicant or petitioner is or is not a "public charge" for inadmissibility grounds (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/08/14/2019-17142/inadmissibility-on-public-charge-grounds). The reason is because unemployment is considered to be an "earned benefit"; in other words, a benefit that you earned through your past employment and specific tax deductions.

Will Receiving a Government Stimulus Check Negatively Affect My Application/Petition?

NO. Although Immigration has not specifically stated whether stimulus checks are or are not to be considered a public benefit for purposes of inadmissibility, my colleagues and I believe that stimulus checks should not be considered a "public benefit". Stimulus checks are considered a 2020 tax credit paid in advance, and does not fall under income maintenance per the USCIS policy manual (https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-8-part-g-chapter-10). Therefore, stimulus checks are not considered a "public benefit" and you do not have to worry that is will affect your application or petition.

JC: Everything Will Get Better!

I know everyone is suffering one way or another, either health wise and/or financially. Besides me, there are others willing to help. Please seek the assistance should you need it. This is a time of much anxiety and despair; a medical challenge that has impacted our daily lives like no other in present lifetime. In order to beat this, we must continue to stick together and do whatever is necessary to stop the spread of this virus. Do what the medical professionals and scientists tell us; that is, to practice safe hygiene (wash hands, clean surfaces, cover your sneezes and coughs), and practice social distancing (avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings, staying at least 6 feet away from others, etc.). (Please see my Facebook for more tips on what you can do to protect yourself and others from COVID-19)

If you have questions or comments related to this article, or if you have some other legal issue you would like me to assist you with, please contact my office at (818) 846-5639, or my Thai direct line at (818) 505-4921. Also, if you have any questions that you would like to be answered in future articles, please email me at: JC4LAW@HOTMAIL.COM. And if you have not done so, please be sure to visit my website at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM for general information regarding this and many other topics in Business, Property and Family Law.

Also be sure to check us out on the web at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM, and on FACEBOOK at: https://www.facebook.com/ThaiAttorney Be sure to follow (and "like") me for the most recent updates in the law!


Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.