By
FPI Staff
|
December 7, 2018

Proposed Change to 'Public Charge' Rule Bad for Florida Families and State Economy

This post was last updated on September 29, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

The Florida Policy Institute submitted comments urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to withdraw its drastic proposed change to the “public charge rule.” The rule would deem people applying for a green card who have received or are likely to receive even a modest amount of non-cash supports — Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), housing supports and subsidies for Medicare Part D — as potentially unacceptable.

In its comments, the Institute stated that the proposed rule would be a major blow to Florida businesses, workers and the overall state economy.

Aside from families directly targeted by the change, the rule would make thousands of additional immigrant families afraid to seek programs that support their basic needs. Without these supports, Florida families will face more poverty, hunger, ill-health, unstable housing and overall economic insecurity.

A recent Institute analysis noted that if only 15 percent of Floridians disenrolled from public benefit programs, it would cause a $400 million loss in federal funds for the state and a $742 million economic loss.

If you’d like to submit your own comments and urge the DHS to withdraw the proposed rule, the Protect Immigrant Families coalition has provided an easy-to-use comment submission form on its website.

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