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What public benefits aliens can legally receive without worrying that the INS will deny them a citizenship in a future?

Lynnwood, WA |

We immigrate to USA in Jan 2013 my wife me and 2 small kids and are now permanent residents and we have green cards. We are sponsored by my sister, however, my sister- sponsor is not in a situation to help us any loner . We just got a job but still it is not enough for the medical benefits and all expense. Are there any public benefic that we could use and would not be considered "public charges:" such as health insurance for kids, help with child care, preschool, and help wit housing / rent for low income families? We want to become US citizens and we do not want to create a problem for us in a future but we need help now.

I read this on web site. "Not all publicly funded benefits will be considered by the INS or the State Department in deciding whether someone is or is likely to become a public charge. The focus of public charge is on cash benefits for income maintenance and institutionalization for long-term care at government expense. Examples of benefits that will not be considered for public charge purposes include: Medicaid and other health insurance and health services Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Attorney Answers 4


  1. None. That's why an Affidavit of Support was executed on your behalf by your sister, to guarantee the government that you and/or members of your immediate family members who immigrated with you will not become "public charges" and also guaranteed to reimburse the gov. if you were to obtain any "means tested" benefits at any time prior to becoming citizens.

    Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. You can receive ZERO means-tested benefits. This means any government benefits for which you show them that you are low income.

    Why/how? Because you must show them your sister's income and she can be required to pay the government back.

    Yes, this can cause problems for you in the future.

    PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.


  3. I agree with my colleagues. No benefits. Only privileges; the privilege of being here and the privilege of employment. There are non profit organizations willing to help those like yourself but you need to do the leg work to find them: Catholic Social Services, Lutheran Family Services, Churches, Vacation Bible Schools, food pantries, low income medical clinics.... Good luck.


  4. You should review Form I-864P, Poverty Guidelines, to see a list of what are means-tested programs. The form is free at www.uscis.gov .

    WA may have programs for which your children are eligible.

    What you should do is check with the offices that administer those programs to see who in your family is eligible.

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