Refugee Financial Assistance

How the Program Works

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) is provided only to newly arriving refugees, new asylees, certified victims of human trafficking, and other persons eligible for refugee services within the first eight months of arrival or certification.

The RCA program provides money from the government to help refugees for up to eight months. If you are receiving money from a local refugee settlement agency’s Matching Grant Program, you cannot receive RCA until the Matching Grant assistance ends. If you are on Matching Grant and apply for RCA or any other federal financial assistance, your Matching Grant will end. You cannot have both financial assistance programs at the same time.

How to Qualify

To receive help through the Refugee Resettlement Program, you must hold one of the immigration statuses that identify you as a refugee, asylee, or eligible person for refugee services.  For RCA and Refugee Medical Assistance you must also be within the first 8 months from arrival or certification.  

You must show proof of immigration status in the form of papers given by United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS), usually the DHS Form I-94.

  1. A person from any country who has been paroled as a refugee or asylee under Section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA).
  2. A person from any country who has been admitted as a refugee under Section 207 of the INA.
  3. A person from any country who has been granted asylum under Section 208 of the INA.
  4. A person from any country who has a DHS Form I-151 or I-551 showing that he or she is a permanent resident alien. The person must also prove that he or she previously held one of the statuses listed above.
  5. Children of a refugee family who are born in the U.S. (or in a refugee camp). These children have the same alien registration number as their mother with a suffix of 01, 02, etc. The suffix shows in what order they were born in the U.S.
  6. Certain Amerasian Immigrants. These persons have either DHS Form I-94 (with class code AM1, AM2, or AM3) or DHS Form I-551 (a "Green Card") with codes AM6, AM7, and AM8.
  7. A Cuban or Haitian Entrant – This would be any person who was ever granted parole status as a Cuban/Haitian Entrant (Status Pending) or granted any other special status that was allowed under the immigration laws for people from Cuba or Haiti, regardless of the person’s status at the time that they receive government services. It also includes any other national of Cuba or Haiti who was paroled into the United States and has not been given any other status under the INA, is not going through exclusion or deportation proceedings under the INA, OR Has filed an application for asylum with United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) AND has not been given a final deportation order that cannot be appealed.
  8. Certified victims of human trafficking. 
  9. Certain Afghan and Iraq immigrants entering under Special Immigrant Visa status.

The following non-American citizens cannot receive refugee assistance:

Non-American citizens not having one of the above immigration statuses; Humanitarian parolees; Public Interest parolees; applicants for asylum, unless provided by Federal law; Conditional entrants admitted under Section 203(a)(7) of the INA. 


You must meet a certain level of poverty to qualify to get help from RCA. The household’s total income per month cannot be more than 185% of the Standard Needs Budget (SNB), based on the household's size.  Click here to see if your income is low enough to qualify.   Gross income is your household’s total income each month before taxes or any deductions have been made. Net income means gross income after allowable deductions have been subtracted.


If the earned income of the household passes the gross income test for the household size, the first $100 of the earned income for each person employed is not counted. Some households may be eligible for additional deduction of 50% of the remaining earned income for each person employed if the household has received benefits from the same financial program in one of the last four months and/or if the income is below the net income limit for the household size.

Resource Limit  

If you own any valuable items, these are counted as resources. The resource limit is $2,000 per household.  Motorized vehicles are exempt.


You must:

  • Work with your employment counselor to negotiate an employment plan based on your skills, abilities, and needs to increase your household’s income.
  • Take part in activities at the highest level possible for your current situation and abilities.
    • The number of participation hours and the type of activity may vary.
  • Each participation plan is fitted to individual, so that the best use is made of the money and resources available to help each family reach the program’s goals.  

Employment Plan Activities

  • Participation means involvement in agreed-upon activities that lead to you being able to make more money through:
    • Work at a job and/or
    • Learning the English language and/or
    • Activities to increase one’s ability to be hired and/or
    • Being approved to receive long term disability payments (SSI/SSDI/VA) and/or
    • Services to help refugees become used to the new culture and able to get by socially.
  • English language training is an activity that takes place at the same time as other employment activities.


Places to Go for Help and Information

Catholic Community Services (CCS)
745 E 300 S
Salt Lake City, UT, 84102
(801) 977-9119
Aden Batar, Director

International Rescue Committee (IRC)
231 E 400 S, Suite 50
Salt Lake City, UT, 84111
(801) 328-1091
Patrick Poulin, Director

Utah Refugee and Immigrant Center @ Asian Association of Utah
1588 S. Major Street
Salt Lake City, UT, 84115
(801) 412-0577
Lina Smith, Director


Office of Refugee Resettlement
370 L’Enfant Promenade SW
Washington, D.C. 20447


Gerald Brown
State Coordinator for Refugee Resettlement
Utah Refugee Services Office

Utah Department of Workforce Services
140 E. 300 S., 5th Floor
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Telephone: (801) 526-9787
Facsimile: (801) 526-9789