What Government Benefits Can Asylees Receive in the U.S.?

benefits for asylum seekers in USA

Escaping persecution in your home country often requires fleeing danger without a plan for what comes next. So when the U.S. finally grants your asylum petition, the relief of legal protection mixes with pressing practical questions.

How do you pick up the pieces and start rebuilding a stable life here? Getting healthcare, food, and housing in the U.S. means dealing with many social services and government agencies. This can feel even more confusing for people still learning English and unfamiliar with the American system.

You deserve clarity to move forward confidently during this transition. Here’s what you need to know.

First Steps – Documenting Your Asylee Status

Before assessing options, asylees need official paperwork to verify their approved asylum status.

Depending on your specific case, this could be:

  • A court order from an immigration judge or Board of Immigration Appeals granting asylum
  • An approval letter from a USCIS asylum office
  • An Employment Authorization Document issued to asylees (category (a)(5)

Once the status gets established, avenues open to obtain fundamental provisions critical for stabilization.

Funding to Meet Basic Needs

After winning an asylum case, newly granted asylees may find themselves in a challenging financial situation, especially if they are cut off from previous income sources. Covering essential expenses like rent, food, and transportation can be difficult without savings or immediate employment opportunities.

Fortunately, there are two temporary federal cash assistance initiatives designed to help meet the urgent needs of asylees who have recently been granted status:

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)

RCA provides crucial monetary aid to cover basic living costs for asylees’ initial eight months stateside. The Office of Refugee Resettlement distributes this unconditional funding for essentials like housing, groceries, and transportation expenses during the transition period.

For asylees seeking assistance, it is recommended to contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The ORR provides social services to help asylees strategically gain more financial independence as they rebuild their lives in the United States.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Additionally, TANF welfare programs administered at the state level supply supplemental cash payments to extremely low-income households with children.

Benefit amounts depend on family size and resources. Eligible refugee households can access TANF for up to 48 months in certain regions.

By assessing both options, urgent costs get covered while launching the process of securing income-generating work down the road.

Health Care Safeguards for Resettling Families

Alongside keeping the lights on and the pantry stocked, access to medical care marks a pressing need for recently arrived refugees. Thankfully, a temporary safety net is available to maintain family health.

Primarily, the Refugee Medical Assistance program aligned with Medicaid steps in to fund up to eight months of insurance benefits. At approved health providers, coverage includes hospital visits, prescription medications, vaccines, prenatal check-ups, pediatric care, and more.

Food Assistance

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offers nutritional support through a monthly household benefits allowance that is usable at grocery stores and farmers’ markets. SNAP aims to fill gaps as refugees seek employment.

Eligibility and enrollment rules vary significantly by state. In some regions, securing work authorization is required before applying for SNAP as an asylee. Our office helps clients navigate nuances.

No one should have to choose between medical attention and affording other necessities like food or rent. These stopgaps prevent such hardship.

Employment Services Prevent Public Dependence

Of course, permanently relying on government subsidies is not the refugees’ goal. Quickly securing legal self-sustaining work brings normalcy and dignity. So, temporary vocational assistance unlocks additional help transitioning into America’s workforce.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement contracts various nonprofit refugee resettlement agencies nationwide to connect newly arrived asylees with core employment services like:

  • Employability skills training
  • Job search and interview guidance
  • Placement support
  • English language instruction
  • Transportation access
  • Children’s daycare assistance
  • General case management

Specialized programming meeting unique needs (health improvements, microenterprise grants, financial literacy, etc.) also funnels through vetted community partners in select regions.

No refugee wishes to exploit public welfare – people simply seek safety plus opportunity. Equipping asylum grantees to earn steady incomes prevents dependency while harnessing their capacities to contribute to society.

Seeking Asylum? Our Immigration Lawyers Guide You to a Brighter Future

The asylum process can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers is passionate about helping people find safety and stability. We’ve walked this path with countless asylees, and we know how to navigate the twists and turns.

Our attorneys can help you build a strong case, gather all the necessary paperwork, and be right there with you every step of the way. Our goal is to make the process as smooth as possible and give you the best shot at winning your asylum case.

And once you have that asylee status? We’ll connect you with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). They’re the experts in helping you access benefits, find resources, and get settled in your new home.

Ready to take the first step towards a brighter future? Give us a call today, and let’s start this journey together.

Author Bio

Lina Baroudi is the owner and managing attorney at the Law Office of Lina Baroudi. Lina is a dedicated immigration attorney with over ten years of experience in the field. As an immigrant herself, having moved to the United States from Syria at a young age, Ms. Baroudi understands the challenges and complexities that immigrants face. Her personal connection to immigrant rights fuels her passion and commitment to achieving success for her clients.

Throughout her career, Lina has been recognized for her excellence in immigration law. She was listed in the California 2015-2020 Rising Stars List by Super Lawyers, an honor given to only 2.5 percent of attorneys in the state. Lina’s proficiency in the field is further evidenced by her role as a Law Clerk at the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District, where she gained invaluable experience and knowledge. She also received the prestigious Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Immigration Law during her time at Golden Gate University School of Law.

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