Immigrants’ Eligibility for U.S. Public Benefits: A Primer
Expanded access to public benefits in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic vividly highlighted how such programs can reduce poverty for families and children. The end of the public-health emergency signaled a return to standard eligibility rules and brought a significant loss of access to support for many low-income individuals and families, including immigrants. This Migration Policy Institute report provides an overview of immigrants’ eligibility for programs and services related to general assistance, health and nutrition, employment and income, education, housing, and driver’s licenses, according to the standard eligibility rules that are back in force. While the focus is on federal eligibility rules, the report also highlights how some programs have state or locally funded equivalents that extend to a broader population, taking California, Illinois, and the Houston metropolitan area as examples.