Refugee Assistance Program Overview

Check Eligibility & Apply for Benefits buttonThe Refugee Assistance Program is a federal program which helps persons admitted into the U.S. as refugees to become self-sufficient after their arrival. Temporary Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) and Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) are available to eligible refugees who do not qualify for the Family Independence Program cash assistance (TANF), SSI or Medicaid for up to eight months after their entry into the U.S. Employment services, health screenings and foster care services for unaccompanied minors are other DHS services available to refugees

Eligibility for RCA and RMA is available for up to eight months after entry into the U.S. , or date asylum was granted, if you have one of the following immigration statuses: 
  • Refugee or Asylee.
  • Cuban/Haitian entrant.
  • Amerasian.
  • Parolee.
  • Victim of trafficking.
  • Iraqi or Afghan Special Immigrant VISA (SIV) holders.
  • U-Visa holders.

Immigration status is determined by officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

Refugee resettlement agencies administer the Refugee Matching Grant program, which offers job training and assistance with food, housing, transportation, etc. Refugees who receive Matching Grant benefits are not eligible for RCA for the same period. 


Asset Limits  Income  Residency Requirements 

The cash asset limit is $3,000. Assets are cash or any property you own.

Cash assets include:

  • Cash on hand
  • Bank and credit union accounts
  • Investments
  • Retirement plans
  • Trusts
  • Property or real estate (asset limit is $250,000)

Assets such as your vehicles and personal belongings are not counted. 

Most earned and unearned income is counted. Income is considered when determining the amount of assistance you are eligible for. 

Examples of countable income are:

  • Wages
  • Self-employment earnings
  • Rental income
  • Child support
  • Social Security benefits
  • Veterans benefits

The following residency requirements apply: 

  • Must live in Michigan
  • Must not be receiving cash assistance from any other state.