What Benefits Do Refugees in the United States Receive?

People who are approved to come to the United States as refugees receive assistance with their travel plans, a loan for travel expenses, a medical examination and a cultural orientation. Refugees are also eligible for medical care and cash assistance, although the availability of resources varies by state.

When a refugee arrives in the United States for the first time, a representative of one of nine resettlement support centers managed and funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration meets him at the airport. He is transported to an apartment, where he has all the basic necessities to establish a home, such as food, clothing and furniture. The Department of State’s Reception and Placement program provides funds to cover the living and medical expenses of the refugee and his family for three months. After that time, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement works with state, local and private agencies to provide financial and medical assistance, as well as help finding a job, acquiring language skills and necessary social services. Refugees must apply for permanent residency within one year.

To achieve refuge status, an individual must live in a foreign country and prove that he has been persecuted or is in danger of persecution because of his race, religion, political beliefs, nationality or social group. Victims of war, genocide, human trafficking and other violent crimes often are granted asylum in the United States as well.