Most adjustment of status applicants are required to prove that they are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for public benefits. For family-based applications an I-864 Affidavit of Support form is required. This form is a contract between your visa petitioner and the U.S government. The petitioner must prove that they will financially support you so that you do not fall into poverty. If the petitioner’s income does not meet the standard in the annual federal poverty guidelines they can ask a joint sponsor or an household member to join the petition.
Employment-based petitioners are not required to complete an I-864 form, unless they have sponsored a relative or the relative owns 5% or more of the sponsoring entity.
VAWA applicants and intending immigrants who have earned 40 qualifying credits of work credits are exempt from filing an I-864 form. Similarly, any immigrant who will attain U.S. citizenship upon admission, is exempt.
Receiving public benefits before or while your green card application is pending is a fact that the immigration officer will take into consideration when deciding whether to approve your application. You will not automatically be denied if you took public benefits. However, if it is more likely than not that you will become a public charge, then the application will likely be denied. A skillful attorney can argue your position well.