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How Immigration Status May Affect Seniors

Posted by John Henry | Jun 08, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Public Charge Rule allows U.S. consulate officials to deny an individual entry into the U.S., or deny a change of status for those already present, if it is determined that the individual is likely to become dependent on certain government support or benefits. Until October 15, 2019, a slew of various benefits was not counted against the applicant. After the public charge rule became effective, many of the previously non-detrimental forms of government assistance became negative factors in the eligibility determination.

The Public Charge Rule was set to become effective on October 15, 2019.However, litigation ensued and an injunction was issued.Multiple federal courts struck down the rule.However, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in January 2020 that the Public Charge Rule could be enforced.The rule became effective nationwide on February 24, 2020.

Now, officials use a totality of the circumstances approach when considering entry into the United States; any certain factor will not necessarily make a potential entrant ineligible. The new rule will still approach each individual situation on its own.The major difference with the new rule is that many previously accepted forms of assistance will now be considered negative factors. Newly negative considerations include SNAP benefits, most forms of Medicaid assistance, and various housing assistance programs. There remains an exemption from ineligibility for enlistees in the armed forces, those in the Ready Reserves, and their families; refugees; those granted asylum; and others who are seeking certain types of visas.Other types of benefits not considered are Medicaid benefits provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and under emergency medical conditions, benefits provided to youth under 21, and benefits provided to pregnant and post-partum women.

How are seniors and those with disabilities affected by this new rule? Age and health are considered factors in the eligibility equation as well. Considering the age and financial status together, the working life of a potential entrant or current alien is an important factor. The repercussions of these changes may only further undermine the potential contributions that could be made in our country by aged or disabled immigrants. In evaluating these applicants, the negative scores on their report compound simply due to their age or infirmity.

About the Author

John Henry

Texas Attorney John B. Henry, III, practices throughout Texas, including Harris County, Jefferson County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County and the surrounding counties. Mr. Henry is a native of Texas, and he brings his perspective and experience to represent his client with the knowledge and ca...


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