Do Green Card holders need to worry about collecting benefits during the Coronavirus crisis?

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses one of your frequently asked questions: do people with green cards need to worry about using government benefits due to the Coronavirus crisis?

Keep on watching for more information.


Do green card holders need to worry about collecting benefits during the Coronavirus crisis?

The short answer is no. The people who are subject to the public charge rule are (1) people who are applying for adjustment of status within the United States (green cards) (2) people who are applying for an immigrant visa at a US Consulate or Embassy overseas and (3) people who are changing their non-immigrant visa status (with certain lenient criteria). In general, individuals may not obtain certain benefits from the government including:

  • Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Medicaid
  • Non-Emergency Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance and
  • Certain other forms of subsidized housing.

Read our Public Charge FAQ guide here.

If you have already obtained permanent residence, or are a conditional permanent residence, you are not subject to the public charge rule. That means that if you are in need of and are eligible for government assistance (such as Medical, unemployment benefits, housing assistance etc.) you can apply for and take advantage of those benefits without having to worry about any repercussions.

As a green card holder what types of things can impact my status in the future?

As mentioned, applying for government assistance does not adversely impact a green card holder. However, other types of actions can adversely impact a green card holder’s status. For example, certain crimes can adversely affect an individual’s permanent residence or present challenges when applying for naturalization. In addition, if you abandon your status in the United States you may lose your green card.

For more COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here. 

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