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Immigrant Eligibility for Medicaid & other Public Benefits - 2024 Update for Undocumented Immigrants Age 65+

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Posted: 06 Mar, 2009
by Valerie Bogart (New York Legal Assistance Group)
Updated: 03 Feb, 2024
by Valerie Bogart (New York Legal Assistance Group)

Updated Immigrant Eligibility for Public Benefits in NYS Chart  

              by Empire Justice Center & NY Immigration Coalition - updated to include Public Charge 

Jan. 1, 2024  Expansion:  Undocumented Immigrants Age 65+ Eligible for Full Medicaid

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, immigrants age 65+ can get FULL MEDICAID even if they do not qualify for PRUCOL status.  This landmark expansion -- won by a coalition working for HealthCare4All  -- is discussed in this article.    This article explains how New Yorkers age 65+ who previously had only Emergency Medicaid, or who had no health coverage at all because they are undocumented, can obtain Medicaid. 

See New Health Insurance Option for Undocumented Immigrants Over 65 Fact Sheet (Dec. 18, 2023  NYSoH). 



  1.  LINU - PUBLIC BENEFITS for DISPLACED UKRAINIANS Arriving in the US - See this WEBSITE for many resources, including:
  2. 5/26/22 - The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement issued:
    PL 22-13 Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees Eligible for ORR Benefits and Services 

  • Office of Refugee Resettlement FACT SHEET 
    • Public Charge warning - if Ukrainian parolees later apply for adjustment of status through a relative or employment petition, receipt of certain federal benefits may be considered likely to make them a public charge.  See more here.  Note that Medicaid does NOT make someone a public charge unless it is for institutional care. 

  1. Significance of policy -- Previously, only those paroled for more than a year were eligible for any federal benefits and there was a 5-year wait for those over age 18. (The 5-year wait did not apply for Medicaid in NYS, though, which covers Medicaid during this period).

  2. Benefits include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (cash assistance), federal Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and SSI, as well as other benefits available to refugees.

  3. How to tell who is a humanitarian parolee - They should have a stamp in their passport indicating they have been paroled for a specific length of time. This includes Ukrainians who come here through the new Uniting for Ukraine program.

  4. Expands federal benefits to Ukrainian humanitarian parolees, but not those who are here on a visa (such as a tourist visa),  through a family reunification route, or who received Temporary Protected Status (TPS) (unless there was an underlying humanitarian parole).  

  • Immigrants from UKRAINE may also receive Temporary Protected Status  but only if they came to the US on or before April 11, 2022 and register for TPS status between April 19, 2022 –October 19, 2023.   See TPS info on Ukraine.   For  those who came to the US after that date, humanitarian parole is possible.  TPS status qualifies an individual for NYS Medicaid.  Public charge does not apply if adjusting status through asylum or to benefits received while having TPS status.  Note other countries for whom immigrants are also eligible for TPS. 

Undocumented immigrants age 65+ will be eligible for full Medicaid (as opposed to only emergency Medicaid) in Jan. 2024.  See here

Public Charge update - see here 


 New York's Exchange Portal: A Gateway to Coverage for Immigrants  (9/14/15) by Empire Justice Center reviews current rules on eligibility and describes how immigrants can access health care through NYSof Health portal, including for emergency care for those who are undocumented and not PRUCOL.   

interactive Marketplace eligibility questionnaire -- designed to help enrollment assistors and consumers better assess their potential eligibility for Marketplace coverage based on immigration status, age and income. This questionnaire is not an official assessment of eligibility. To receive an official determination of eligibility contact the New York State of Health Marketplace at http://www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov or 1-855-355-5777

  • This tool was created jointly by the Children's Defense Fund - New York, the Empire Justice Center, and the Community Service Society through their work in the Health Care for All New York coalition.

Please see 2013 updates re PRUCOL status for people applying for or granted DACA status in this article.  

NEWS on Public Charge -  Regulations Issued by Trump Administration VACATED March 8, 2021; 1999 Guidance Reinstated  

As of March 9, 2021, the Trump-era Department of Homeland Security (DHS) public charge regulations no longer exist or apply.  Those regulations temporarily changed the definition of who could be denied "adjustment of status" (green card) based on likelihood to become a "public charge."   Now the 1999 Guidance has been reinstated.  DHS is expected to publish a new final rule in July or August 2022 with revised regulations on public charge. 

 On June 3, 2022, the Biden administration updated its Public Charge resource webpage "to ensure that immigrants and their families, many of whom are essential and frontline workers, are not deterred by undue fear or confusion from obtaining access to important government services for which they are eligible to keep their families safe and healthy."

The only benefits that can be considered to make one likely to become a public charge are: (a) ongoing cash assistance for income maintenance including SSI (e.g, not one-shots or  ERAP; and (b) government funded long-term institutional care.   All Medicaid services other than institutional care do NOT make someone a public charge.  For more info about Public Charge and FAQs see:


Monday-Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.   Saturday-Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Medical providers can call : NYLAG’s LegalHealth hotline: 212.659.6188

  • Legal Services NYC intake line at 917-661-4500

  • New York Immigration Coalition  state-wide list of legal resources, https://www.nyic.org/providers/

Attached files
item NYS Dept. of Health 10-18-19 Letter to Local Commr's re Public Charge.pdf (696 kb) Download

Also read
item Income and Resource Limits for New York State Public Health Insurance Programs
item Medicaid for Immigrants who are Not Permanent Residents (Do Not have "Green Cards")-- PRUCOL and Temporary Non-Immigrant Eligibility
item Emergency Medicaid in New York State - Limited Medicaid Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants & Changes for Age 65+
item The Language Access Resource Center - Empire Justice Center
item Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Public Health Insurance
item Empire Justice Center Reports on Immigrant Access to Health Care in NY's Health Insurance Exchange
item Know Your Rights: NYLAG Webinars on Medicare and Medicaid -
item Medicaid for Undocumented Immigrants Age 65+ - Starts January 2024

Also listed in
folder Medicaid -> Immigrant Access

External links
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg https://empirejustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/NYIC-Public-Benefits-Chart-Nov-2021.pdf
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg http://www.chcanys.org/clientuploads/__2019/HCS/NYSOH_Public_Charge_Assistor_QAs_Final_081619_.pdf
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg https://www.newamericans.ny.gov/Hotline/hotline.html
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg https://www.clasp.org/publications/fact-sheet/impact-trumps-public-charge-rule-select-states
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg https://www.legalaidnyc.org/notice/public-charge/
http://health.wnylc.com/health/client/images/icons/article_out.svg https://legalaidnyc.org/get-help/health-disability-hiv-aids/what-you-need-to-know-about-health-insurance-and-immigration-status/

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