Refugee assistance in the United States is going to be even more necessary than before. But who gets what kind of assistance? Read on to learn more about ORR-funded assistance.
Since the war of aggression in Ukraine, and throughout the past decade, the number of refugees fleeing their home countries has grown.
Refugee resettlement is an international process affected by multiple governments. The involvement of multiple sovereign states makes it a complicated subject, because most countries follow different procedures, legal designations, and assistance programs.
While there are many legal statuses for migrants specifically, including unaccompanied minors, this article will focus on the United States’ definition of various refugee statuses.
Who Are Refugees?
When we say “refugee,” we are following the US Department of Homeland Security’s criteria, which says a refugee is someone who:
- is located outside of the United States
- is of special humanitarian concern to the United States
- demonstrates they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group
- is not firmly resettled in another country
- is admissible to the United States
That said, there are nuances to the various refugee statuses. The US definition only covers a portion of those who are often called forcibly displaced individuals, who are divided between asylum and refugee status. Asylum status is available to someone who:
- meets the definition of refugee
- is already in the United States
- is seeking admission at a port of entry
In other words, asylees are refugees who are already in the United States.
Refugee Cash and Medical Assistance
People with either status are eligible for assistance from state-sponsored programs that receive reimbursement from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The ORR funds a grant called Cash & Medical Assistance (CMA), which is available to refugees and victims of human trafficking.
By the way, many kinds of migrants have access to other assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid, but those are not funded by the ORR.
Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) processes and amounts depend on the state refugees settle in, but they are available to refugees, who would be ineligible for TANF or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Asylees can access those mainstream benefits, although each state has its own eligibility requirements.
If you are a refugee seeking RCA, contact your state refugee coordinator.
Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) is for refugees who are ineligible for Medicaid. RMA benefits are mostly very similar to Medicaid, with short-term medical coverage. In the same link above is more info on how to find out your state’s health coordinator.
What Other Benefits Can Refugees Receive?
Depending on the state and individual eligibility, many refugees can receive any of the following services:
- Housing assistance
- Temporary cash assistance
- Assistance applying for identification and Social Security
- English-language classes and other cultural trainings
- Job-seeking assistance
- Food and nutrition services
ClientTrack Facilitates Refugee Services
For every refugee client who enters your organization’s purview, there are many complex processes that must be completed, including:
- Creating a case file
- Referring them to resources
- Tracking those referrals and outcomes
- Connecting them to mentors or volunteers
Case management for refugee services can be a headache when you don’t have a system in place that adequately facilitates case management processes and outcomes tracking, which is why we at Eccovia built ClientTrack, an industry-leading case management platform.
Remember that every person involved with refugee resettlement is a real person with real needs. Our platform was built by experts who come from the world of social services and have firsthand experience with the needs of refugee service organizations. If you would like to schedule a demo, please reach out today.