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Does receiving public benefit affect a pending adjustment of status application?

Washington, DC |

I am a self petitioner and have a pending adjustment of status filed. USCIS has sent me a letter that says I may be able to use the letter for public benefits. However, I have not still used it to receive any kind of benefit even though I have a big financial problem as I was told that, getting public benefit will deny my green card application based on a public charge classification.How true is this? I am in a very difficult situation where i don't have money to even buy my daily food. Why would uscis deny my application after allowing me to get public benefits. How does the law works? What are the risks? Please let me know.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Best answer

    If filed under VAWA, you are exempt from the the public charge requirements

    This is not legal advice and a client attorney relationship is not created. For a free consultation call (718)234-5588.


  2. You stated that you are a self-petitioner. It would be helpful to know exactly what kind of self-petitioner you are. Did you file as the abused spouse of a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, using form I-360?

    You should consult with an immigration attorney about your case. Perhaps you might find a nonprofit agency near you that might provide you with some assistance and low or no cost. Good luck.

    (734) 369-3131. This communication does not establish and attorney-client relationship with the Law Office of Michael Carlin PLLC or any individual member of the office. Confidential information should not be sent through this form.


  3. I agree with my colleague.

    (213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.


  4. Some categories of immigrants are required to prove that they are not likely to become a public charge. Others are exempt from this. It depends on the basis for your adjustment of status.

    The above is intended only as general information, and does not constitute legal advice. You must speak with an attorney to discuss your individual case.


  5. It sounds from your information that you filed as a battered Spouse. If that is correct then you are exempt from the public charge restrictions.

    Samuel Ouya Maina, Esq. 415.391.6612 s.ouya@mainalaw.com Law Offices of S. Ouya Maina, PC 332 Pine Street, Suite 707 San Francisco, CA 94104


  6. As others stated, if you filed under VAWA, you are exempt from public charge issues. You should contact resources such as WEAVE, CASA de Maryland, Bread for the City, and others to see what you may qualify for. Unfortunately, most federal benefits require having been in "qualified" immigrant status for five years, which applies to very few VAWA applicants. Good luck.

    This general information does not establish any attorney-client relationship. There may well be factors not mentioned in the question which could and should be addressed in an attorney consultation.