One of the most pressing concerns for foreign nationals in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic is whether accessing unemployment benefits will count against an individual in determining whether he or she is considered a public charge. Below are two questions on the minds of many foreign nationals during this difficult time as well as answers based on currently available information.
- Can immigrants access unemployment benefits, and if so, do unemployment benefits count against a person for the public charge determination?
- The answer to this question depends on the laws of the state in which an immigrant resides. Unemployment benefits are a creation of state law, so it is up to a given state to determine who can access unemployment benefits in that state.
- Please note, undocumented immigrants are usually not eligible for unemployment benefits, as undocumented immigrants are not authorized to work in the U.S.
- If one is eligible for unemployment benefits, accessing these benefits will not count against an individual in a public charge analysis since unemployment benefits are considered an earned benefit.
- Do non-citizens qualify for coronavirus-related sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?
- There is nothing in the FFCRA law that prohibits non-citizens from qualifying for coronavirus-related sick leave. As such, it is possible for non-citizens to qualify for coronavirus-related sick leave.
If you have specific questions about how the above information affects you, please consult an experienced immigration attorney at Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP. Please note, this blog is intended for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.