Public Charge Resources for Immigrant Families in Illinois

Some people who apply for a green card (lawful permanent residence) or a visa to enter the U.S. must pass a “public charge” test – which looks at whether the person is likely to use certain government services in the future. This means immigration officials review all of a person’s circumstances, including their age, income, health, education or skills (including English language skills), and their sponsor’s affidavit of support or contract.

During a public charge test, immigration officials can also consider whether a person has used certain public programs. Only a few Medicaid programs (such as ACA Adult Medicaid) are included in the public charge test. Medicaid Programs such as All Kids and Moms & Babies are not looked at negatively in the public charge test.

Many immigration statuses do not need to pass the public charge test.   

  • Lawful permanent residents (or people with “green cards”) are not affected unless they leave the US for over 180 days and seek to reenter.  
  • The public charge test does not consider use of benefits by the green card applicant’s family members; for example, benefit use by US citizen children is excluded from the test. 


Need More Help?

If you have more questions about whether use of health or other programs will affect your immigration status or your application for a green card, there are a lot of people and organizations that can help you. These resources can provide information and answers to frequently asked questions to help you make good decisions for your family:  

Remember, every family is different, and the programs that help your family might not be part of new changes to the policy. Do not hesitate to reach out for help or advice – you are not alone!