Message to Immigrant Families During COVID-19 Pandemic


By Dana Levine

COVID-19 has hit communities of color the hardest, including immigrant families. You need to  be aware of programs you may be eligible for right now, including health care, cash assistance, food assistance, and unemployment insurance.

1)  Immigration officials clarified that everyone can seek testing, prevention, and treatment for COVID-19 without fear of immigration consequences.

2) You can still see a doctor without medical insurance.  If you don’t have a doctor, call a local community health center for assistance. Find one at 

3)  If everyone in your tax household has a social security number and you earn less than $75,000 per year, you may be eligible for a one-time cash payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. 

4)  The CARES Act expands unemployment insurance to include independent contractors and to last longer but you still need to have permission to work in the U.S. 

5)  Pandemic EBT is a new nutrition assistance program that allows states to provide meal-replacement benefits of about $114 per child per month for families who have lost access to free or reduced-price school meals. It’s available now in over 40 states to anyone eligible, regardless of your immigration status. 

6) If you receive the stimulus payment, unemployment insurance, COVID-19 testing and treatment, or Pandemic-EBT, it will not count against you in a public charge test. That means that applying for these programs will not negatively impact your ability to get a green card in the future.

For a quick reference guide on who is eligible for federal public programs during the COVID-19 public health crisis, go to There may also be state or local relief provided to you and your family. Talk to your local service provider for more information at:

This advisory was sponsored by Protecting Immigrant Families, a national campaign to protect and defend access to health care, nutrition programs, public services, and economic supports for immigrants and their families at the local, state, and federal level.