Public Charge and Immigration
Important Information for Patients with Medicare and those with Medicare/Medi-Cal coverage
Applying for health coverage programs will not hurt your ability to obtain legal residency or prevent you from becoming a lawful permanent resident or a United States citizen, as long as health coverage funds are not used to pay for long-term or institutional care.
If you do not have a green card yet, it will not hurt your chances of getting a green card if you, your children or other family members receive health care services through Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, Basic Health Care, WIC, prenatal care or other free or low cost medical care program.
If you already have a green card, you cannot lose it if you, your children or other family members use health care services through Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, WIC, prenatal care or other free or low cost medical care program.
If you are applying for U.S. citizenship, you cannot be denied the opportunity for lawfully receiving benefits such as free or low cost health care.
If you want to sponsor a relative, using benefits such as health care should not prevent you from sponsoring your relative. However, you will need to show that you or your co-sponsor earn enough income to support your relative.
If you are a refugee or asylee, you can use benefits such as free or low cost health care without hurting your chances of getting a green card.
If you are a victim of abuse who has filed a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), use of cash welfare and other programs will not count against you.
Links and Resources
- National Immigration Law Center
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center
- California Immigrant Welfare Collaborative
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- Healthy Families
- U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Asian Pacific American Legal Center
- Centro Legal de la Raza
- Community Voices