Feds Clarify Public Charge Rule for COVID-19 Care

March 16, 2020

The U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services (USCIS) issued a COVID-19 alert encouraging all immigrants with symptoms that resemble COVID-19 to seek necessary medical treatment and/or preventive services.

The alert clarifies that treatment and preventive services, including accessing a vaccine should one become available, will not negatively impact any individual’s future public charge determination. USCIS clarified that accessing such services will not negatively impact anyone even if such services are provided or paid for by one or more public benefits defined in the public charge final rule, such as Medicaid.

Additionally, USCIS stated it will take circumstances such as social distancing and quarantine into consideration for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak and recovery phase should such measures require individuals to rely on public benefits.