The CARES Act and Public Charge Considerations

On March 27th, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law. The CARES Act provides for the issuance of one-time payments to help people recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. is giving eligible people, with an adjusted gross income up to $75,000, a payment of $1,200. The Federal Government is giving married couples who file a joint tax return, $2,400 if their adjusted gross income is less than $150,000. The U.S. is also sending, to qualified parents, $500 for each eligible child under age 17. The Treasury Department is making these payments as tax credits.

The DHS has stated that they will not consider tax credits when they make a public charge determination. The DHS will only consider public benefits to include means-tested programs like Medicaid and cash assistance for income maintenance. Cash assistance for income maintenance does not include tax credits. Furthermore, USCIS stated in its Policy Manual that it does not consider tax credits to be public benefits with regard to public charge inadmissibility determinations.