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What Is Public Charge? The State of Oregon Addresses Frequently Asked Questions on DHS Rule Change

Posted by | Staff

Background: On August 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that it has finalized the new public charge rule. The new rule will take effect October 15, 2019; it is not retroactive. Changes include, but are not limited to, expanding the kinds of public benefits considered in the public charge test. Under the current rule, the only public benefits considered when determining who is likely to become a “public charge” are cash-assistance programs and Medicaid-funded long-term care.

The new rule expands the list of benefits to include nutrition assistance (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs); housing assistance (public housing and Section 8); and non-emergency Medicaid for non-pregnant adults 21 and older.

Eligibility rules for public benefit programs in Oregon have not changed and many immigrants are exempt from public charge (both under the current and new rule). We realize this federal change may cause concern and confusion for Oregonians who use affected public benefits. We hope that this information clarifies who is affected by public charge and how to get help if needed.

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