Skip to Main Content


The L.A. County Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA), operating within the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), praised the December 23, 2022 implementation of the new “public charge” regulation.

Public Charge is a “test” that immigration officials use to determine whether a noncitizen will be dependent on the government for support. This evaluation is made when a person applies for legal permanent resident (“green card”) status or to enter the United States.  This new U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule strengthens protections for immigrant families seeking to access critical programs, resources, and services offered by the County of Los Angeles and public agencies throughout the country.

“Unfortunately, many immigrant families throughout our communities are scared to use critical resources due to public charge concerns, even after the Biden administration reversed the Trump era rule. Implementation of this new rule is a step in the right direction to undo that harm,” said OIA Executive Director Rigoberto Reyes.

This new rule clarifies which programs are considered in a public charge test, as well as the many important programs and resources not considered in the test. For example, a child or other family member’s use of safety net programs will not affect the immigration status of a relative or household member under the new rule.

This rule change is also an important reminder that eligible immigrants and their household members can use housing, nutrition, and health care programs without concern about their immigration status. This is especially important in light of California’s recent expansion of Medi-Cal to all income-eligible persons who are 50 years old or older, regardless of immigration status.

The new rule clarifies that only long-term institutionalized care at government expense or use of cash assistance for income maintenance such as SSI, TANF (CalWORKs), and state, local and tribal cash assistance, may be considered in a public charge determination.

OIA is partnering with community stakeholders to help immigrant families learn about this important rule change and to encourage them to seek access to many important programs and resources without concern about immigration status consequences.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the Public Charge Rule now in effect, please visit the OIA website or contact OIA at 1-800-593-822 to speak with a counselor.