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Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)

What it is:

The Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) Program helps refugees by providing cash and medical assistance (Refugee Medical Assistance program) during their first eight months in the U.S.


Who is eligible:

Persons who entered the United States with an immigration status that allows them to receive refugee benefits are eligible for RCA and RMA benefits as long as they meet other eligibility requirements.

Eligible immigration statuses are:

  • Refugee
  • Conditional Entrant,
  • Asylee,
  • Amerasian,
  • Cuban-Haitian entrant,
  • Certified as a victim of trafficking and their eligible family members;
  • Special Immigrant from Iraq or Afghanistan and their eligible family members.

If you have questions about whether or not you meet refugee status requirements, a staff member can help you. Or you can read more at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=388-466


To be eligible for RCA you must:

  • Provide documents issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) verifying your immigration status and date of arrival into the U.S.
  • Provide the name of the voluntary agency (VOLAG) which resettled you
  • Meet immigration status requirements
  • Meet work and training requirements
  • Meet income and resource requirements

You are not eligible for RCA if you:

  • Are eligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Have been denied TANF or have been terminated from TANF due to intentional non-compliance with TANF eligibility requirements
  • Are a full-time student in an institution of higher education, unless the educational activity is part of a department-approved employability plan

Income and Resource Requirements:

To be eligible for the RCA program you must have resources of less than $1,000. Certain resources, such as the first $5,000 of equity in a vehicle, are exempt.

RCA PAYMENT STANDARD
Assistance
Unit Size
Payment Standard
with shelter costs
Payment Standard
without shelter costs
1 $305 $185
2 $385 $235

How it works:

If you are a family of two eligible for RCA, you will get $385 if you have no income. If one or both of you are working, we count half of your earnings against your grant. If you are a family of two, once you earn over $770 per month, you would no longer receive RCA. You will continue to receive RMA for the rest of your first eight months in the U.S.

If you are getting unearned income, such as gift cards, or gambling winnings, or ongoing payments from your VOLAG agency, we count this income dollar for dollar against your grant. If you are a family of two, once you started receiving $385 per month in unearned income you would no longer receive RCA. You will continue to receive RMA for the rest of your first eight months in the U.S.



How to apply:

You can apply for Refugee Cash Assistance services online or at your local Community Services Office.

As with all our programs, the only way to know for sure if you are eligible is to apply.