The 2019 Public Charge Rule created confusion and fear that may have prevented immigrants and their families, including their children, from accessing critical government services available to them. It is critical that immigrants and their families, many of whom are essential workers, are able to access necessary government services for which they may be eligible to keep their families safe and healthy.  

What was the public charge rule?  

It’s a rule that, essentially, allows the U.S. government to deny a U.S. visa to anyone who “is likely at any time to become a public charge” — but without defining what “public charge” means. The rule has been interpreted broadly to reduce the number of people who were eligible for green cards and other visas, by redefining what made them dependent on government benefits — or “likely” to be in the future. 

Where does the public charge rule stand now? 

As of March 9, 2021, applicants and petitioners for United States citizenship, are no longer required to provide information required solely by the Public Charge Final Rule. That means that applicants for adjustment of status or extension of nonimmigrant stay, or change of nonimmigrant status no longer need to file a Declaration of Self-Sufficiency or provide any evidence or documentation related to the receipt of public benefits with their Forms I-485, I-129 (Part 6), I-129CW (Part 6), I-539 (Part 5), and I-539A (Part 3). 

The Connecting Texas Kids to Coverage Unit at Lone Star Legal Aid is dedicated to helping parents get their children the medical coverage they need by guiding them through the enrollment process. Both CHIP and Medicaid offer low-cost or free health insurance for kids and teens.  Both programs also offer benefits to US Citizen children, regardless of their parents’ immigration status.  

Lone Star Legal Aid can help qualified applicants apply for Children’s Medicaid or CHIP benefits. Lone Star Legal Aid can enroll on your behalf, monitor the progress of your application, and notify you when a decision has been made. LSLA can also help to re-certify your application when it is time for your renewal. In some circumstances LSLA may provide legal representation in your appeal process should your application be denied. Lone Star Legal Aid is a free service and you are never charged for any assistance that we provide. 

If you or someone you know requires assistance obtaining medical benefits for your child(ren), you can apply for free legal services by calling 1-800-733-8394 or by visiting our website at  

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at  

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