Public Announcements


SNP Bulletin No. 1318 - National School Lunch Program Clarification Notice

On October 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) posted a proposed rule change in the Federal Register.  The proposed rule, titled “Proposed Change to Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility” proposes to change the eligibility standards for individuals seeking admission to the United States from abroad on immigrant and nonimmigrant visas or seeking to renew such visas.  This USDHS will accept
comments on the proposed rule until December 10. 

Under the current rule, an individual may be denied a visa if a determination is made that they would be a “public charge” by being eligible for cash assistance programs such as social security income (SSI) or temporary assistance for needy families (TANF). The proposed rule adds several new public benefits that may result in a public charge determination, including Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and certain housing subsidies.

We have been made aware that there is confusion over whether school nutrition services are being considered and we wanted to clarify that the National School Lunch program is not a program that would be used to make public charge determinations if the new proposed rule takes effect.  See the Proposed Rule Change by Immigration Services Q&A, page 4:

Q. Which benefits are not considered? 

A.  Many benefits are not considered as part of the proposed rule.  In fact, the rule does not include consideration of emergency medical assistance, disaster relief, national school lunch programs, foster care and adoption, and head start. While the Department will take public comments on what benefits should be included or excluded, it is important to note that the proposed rule only includes certain public benefit programs mentioned above.  

To be clear, completing an application for free or reduced price lunch or a household income statement will not impact a family’s immigration status under this proposed rule.  Questions regarding this SNP Bulletin may be directed to the School Nutrition Programs unit at