Refugee Cash Assistance

Revised March 15, 2016


This section describes the general eligibility requirements for client to receive refugee cash assistance benefits. 

WAC 388-466-0120  Refugee cash assistance (RCA)?

  • Clarifying Information and Worker Responsibilities

WAC 388-400-0030 Who is eligible for refugee cash assistance? (Program Summary)

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-444-0120

For more information on RCA priority requirements see SUMMARY, Applicants for RCA, if otherwise eligible, can not be denied benefits or services because they have not yet received a social security number (SSN). Social Security Administration procedures often prohibit asylees and Cuban and Haitian entrants from applying and receiving SSN for several months after they received their status and became eligible for RCA.

RCA recipients with earnings have the same 50% earned income disregards as TANF clients.

Matching Grant Program Recipients.  Refugees and similarly classified immigrants agree not to apply for ongoing cash assistance from RCA or TANF so they can get services through the Matching Grant program.  The Matching Grant program is an employment and training program funded by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and administered by voluntary refugee resettlement agencies (VOLAGs).  The VOLAG provides cash assistance and employment services designed to find the Matching Grant participant a job within the immigrant's first four months in the US.  In order to qualify for the program, the participant must agree they will not apply for other ongoing cash assistance benefits. However, the participant should still be eligible for Basic Food. Note that one-time cash payments from a VOLAG are not part of the Matching Grant Program.


Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-444-0120

  1. Determine eligibility for TANF before determining eligibility for RCA.
  2. Complete a program change when a change of circumstances makes a RCA recipient eligible for TANF (for example, a recipient with no other dependents becomes eligible for TANF because she has a verified pregnancy).
  3. Refer all refugees who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled to SSI facilitator for help with application to Social Security Administration for SSI benefits.
    1. Terminate RCA if necessary and authorize SSI medical when SSI is approved.
  4. Determine eligibility for other cash programs such as CEAP (Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program), or General Assistance program when RCA eligibility ends due to the expiration of the eight-month time limit.
  5. Matching Grant Program Recipients. 

If an applicant indicates they are receiving benefits through the Matching Grant program, verify the amount of cash the applicant receives and budget it toward their Basic Food request.

If the Matching Grant recipient decides to apply for RCA or TANF:

a.  Determine the applicant’s eligibility using standard application processing procedures; and
b.  Notify the VOLAG immediately that the client is requesting cash assistance through a DSHS-administered program.