I am a student or scholar who is on a F, H or J visa and recently received a federal stimulus check under the CARES Act. Should this payment be considered in any assessment of my receipt of public benefits under the new DHS Public Charge Rule? (Updated April 15)
The Department of Homeland Security has not issued any definitive statement regarding whether the receipt of a stimulus check is a public benefit for purposes of the Public Charge Rule. While the university cannot provide you with legal advice regarding the impact of your receipt of the payment, it is monitoring the matter closely and will update this answer if federal guidance is published.
For now, the only helpful guidance comes from the Congressional Research Service, which publishes information to help the general public understand and interpret new federal laws. That service issued guidance here: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/LSB/LSB10442. The last section of that guidance makes clear that Congress did not intend the payment to be factored into public charge determinations. The guidance also notes that the decision whether to include the payment is, ultimately, for the Department of Homeland Security to decide. You are encouraged to seek advice from an immigration attorney for further information.