It’s not a secret that people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families often encounter challenges fighting for safety, health, inclusion, and opportunity. Now, as a result of a Supreme Court ruling, there exists a new challenge for some and a perceived threat for many.
Last Monday, January 27, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to let the Trump administration enforce the “public charge” rule, a regulation that is meant to reduce the number of immigrants who use social benefit programs. This means that individuals with I/DD, 21+ years old, who would possibly rely on Medicaid funded services – such as regional center services, SSI/SSP, housing assistance, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – would have an added roadblock to receive a green card or visa. As a movement of people with I/DD and their families committed to eliminating roadblocks for our community, The Arc finds solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters worldwide and has actively opposed this new rule.
This rule, however, has an additional and equally concerning threat: legal immigrant families in California reducing their use of these critical supports and services because they are concerned the rule applies to them. At this point we must fight this “chilling effect” and use our advocacy efforts to bring information and truth to our friends, families, neighbors, and clients that could perceive this threat.
STEP 1: BE INFORMED
The benefit programs this covers include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (EBTor Food Stamps), Federal Public Housing and Section 8 assistance, cash assistance (like SSI, TANF, and General Assistance), and Medicaid funded programs like Medicaid-Cal and regional center services. However, Medicaid use is not being looked at if it is for:
- Emergency services;
- Children under 21 years;
- Pregnant women; and
- New mothers.
Find more information at: https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/know-your-rights/
STEP 2: OUTREACH AND TRUTH
Many families may be in fear right now. Send this chart to your communities so they can quickly determine if they public charge applies to them. You can also share this blog post or the Spanish translation.
Another screening tool that can be used is:
More resources are below.
STEP 3: ADVOCATE
If you or somebody you know needs additional immigration advocacy related to public charge or other immigration services find help at https://www.cdss.ca.gov/benefits-services/more-services/immigration-services/immigration-services-contractors.
- Public Charge: Does this apply to me? (How public charge will impact you based on your immigration status, and what you should do – PIF)
- KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! Public Charge Messages for Community Members (Top messages to share with immigrant communities on the recent changes to public charge – PIF)
- Should I Keep My Kids Enrolled in Health & Nutrition Programs? (Use this guide to help answer commonly asked questions about how to make good decisions for your family and their health – PIF)
- You Have Rights – Protect Your Health (An overview for mixed-status families when it comes to going to the doctor or enrolling in health insurance – PIF)
- 10 Facts About Access to Health Insurance for Immigrants and Their Families (The ACA marketplace open enrollment period presents a great opportunity make sure immigrants and their families understand what recent threats mean for them as they seek health coverage. – CLASP, NILC, and NHeLP)