Public Charge Assistance Pilot

Help immigrant communities understand which benefits they qualify for without jeopardizing their Legal Permanent Resident application. 

CommunityConnect Labs is piloting a Public Charge Assistance program with Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County to help communities address recent changes to the rule - to find out more about becoming a pilot partner, please contact us

Historically, “public charge” has been used as a rule to test whether an applicant to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) of the U.S. would incur a burden, typically financial, on the state. If someone is deemed to be a public charge, it’s possible his or her application for LPR would be denied. Recent changes from the administration have broadened the list of public assistance programs that could cause enrollees to be labeled as a public charge. These changes are expected to cause many qualified recipients to drop their assistance programs for fear of losing their right to be in the U.S. 

Rule changes were announced on August 12, 2019 and are expected to go into effect in October 2019.


Public charge rules have recently changed, and individuals may be unnecessarily dropping out of assistance programs for which they qualify. 


  • Unclear eligibility requirements
  • Lack of awareness of new rules
  • Fear of jeopardizing residency in the U.S. 
  • Distrust in government


Leveraging CommunityConnect Labs’ mobile messaging program, organizations can help individuals quickly and confidentially determine if they are still eligible for assistance programs, and refer them to help as needed.


  • Automatically confirm individuals’ eligibility for benefits
  • Educate individuals on new rules
  • Direct to legal help as needed
  • Communicate via trusted messengers
  • Convenient and confidential communication via text
  • Assistance in user’s language
Public Charge mobile messaging campaign

How It Works

Individuals text in to a designated number to start the screening process

They are then prompted to answer a couple of questions about themselves by text  

Submitted answers are then used to calculate if the person is still eligible for benefits 

Individuals determined to be affected by public charge will be referred to local pro bono legal services 

Reminders and follow-ups are sent to encourage affected individuals to seek out pro bono legal services

Contact Us to Learn More