Refugees are eligible, due to their vulnerable status, for federal benefits such as Medical Assistance (Medicaid), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps). There are also special types of assistance available to refugees who do not meet the criteria for the above listed benefits. Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) and Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) exist to bridge a gap between initial settlement and the achievement of self-sufficiency. These programs are limited to eight months from the date of refugee entry.
In an attempt to keep refugees off of public benefits, there is a cash diversion program called the Matching Grant Program. This is an alternative to public cash assistance providing services to enable ORR-eligible populations (in addition to refugees, asylees, Cuban and Haitian entrants, certain Amerasians from Vietnam, victims of severe forms of trafficking, and special immigrant Visa holders (SIVs) are also eligible for the same types of services) to become economically self-sufficient within 120 to 180 days.
Services required under this program include, but are not limited to, case management, employment services, maintenance assistance and cash allowance, and administration. Self-sufficiency must be achieved without accessing public cash assistance. Enrollment is available to all ORR-eligible populations meeting the minimum employability requirements as defined under the ORR's program guidelines; however, enrollment must occur within 31 days of becoming eligible to ensure adequate services are provided and self-sufficiency is achieved and maintained within the period of eligibility.