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Refugee Assistance

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) is cash assistance provided to individuals with Refugee, Asylee, Special Immigrant Visa holders (SIV), Cuban and Haitian entrants, Amerasians, or Victims of Human Trafficking status who have been determined to be ineligible for CalWORKs or SSI/SSP and who have resided in the United States for no longer than 12 months.

Time Eligibility

Available for up to 12 months based on the qualifying status:

  • Refugee or Special Immigrant Visa Holders: Date of Entry into the U.S.
  • Asylee: Date of final grant of asylum
  • Cuban and Haitian Entrants: Date of parole
  • Victim of Human Trafficking: Date of certification by the Office of Trafficking in Persons (OTIP)

Refugee Definition

A refugee is a person who is outside of any country in which they habitually resided, applies and is granted “refugee” status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

Asylee Definition

An asylee is a person who travels to the United States, applies for and is granted asylum status by USCIS, which allows them to remain in the U.S. because they are unable or unwilling to return to their country due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Asylees are eligible to 12 months of RCA benefits from the date they are granted asylum status.


Trafficking and Crime Victim Assistance Program (TCVAP)

TCVAP is cash assistance provided to non-citizen survivors of human trafficking (T-Visa), domestic violence, and other serious crimes (U-Visa) status who have been determined to be ineligible for CalWORKs or SSI/SSP and are eligible to state cash assistance for 12 months from date of application for benefits.


Work Registration Requirements

Each RCA recipient must register for employment services with an employment services provider unless they are determined to be exempt. Failure to cooperate with registration or participation requirements may results in termination of aid. The employment service provider will offer registrant the opportunity and services necessary to assist them in becoming self-sufficient, such as: vocational English as a second language, short-term vocational training, employment preparation workshops, job counseling and job search assistance, job development and placement, and job retention.