The North Carolina Refugee Assistance Program
The North Carolina Refugee Assistance Program (NC-RAP) is a short-term transitional program that is intended to produce early economic self-sufficiency for refugees and other eligible populations.
NC-RAP consists of two primary service areas – Refugee Public Assistance and Refugee Social Services. NC-RAP also includes other discretionary grant funded programs, such as:
- Assistance to public schools for educational support to refugee children (School Impact Program);
- Targeted employment assistance in Guilford and Mecklenburg counties (Targeted Assistance Program – Formula);
- Aging services to older refugees (Services to Older Refugees Program);
- Social services targeted to certain populations (Cuban/Haitian Program); and
- Preventive health screening (i.e. Domestic Health Assessment/Screening, Immunizations, and Referral for treatment of any identified health conditions)
Funding for NC RAP comes from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (U.S. DHHS).
Refugee Public Assistance
Refugee Public Assistance involves two programs – Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) and Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA).
RCA is financial support provided to eligible individuals who participate in employability services in accordance with an Employability Plan.
RMA is a short-term medical insurance program available to eligible individuals in order to stabilize their health shortly after arrival in the U.S. – benefits are similar to the NC Medicaid program and include such things as doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medicine, dental and eye care.
Refugees and other qualified individuals are eligible for both programs up to eight months after arrival in the U.S.
Eligibility criteria parallel the state's Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which is titled Work First in North Carolina.
Application for this assistance is made at the local County Department of Social Services.
During Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2012 (October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012), approximately 806 individuals received Refugee Cash Assistance and approximately 1,001 individuals received Refugee Medical Assistance through the NC Refugee Assistance Program.
Refugee Social Services
The Refugee Social Services (RAP-SS) program provides help with employment, adjusting to life in the United States, certain immigration paperwork, and learning the English language. Other support services such as interpretation and transportation may also be available. There is no income eligibility criteria for RAP-SS, but services must be provided in accordance with a written service plan. A person is no longer eligible upon becoming a U.S. citizen.
RAP-SS are provided in order to:
- Achieve self-sufficiency as quickly as possible and quickly reduce dependence on public assistance;
- Expedite the resettlement process and encourage social adjustment;
- Assist refugees with finding jobs and maintaining employment;
- Acquire English language skills; and
- Acquire Vocational Skills Training and Vocational Education Instruction
- Employment services;
- Case Management;
- English Language Training;
- Citizenship and Immigration Services;
- Vocational Skills Training, including Drivers Education and Vocational Education;
- Translation & Interpretation services;
- Skills Recertification; and
- Social Adjustment services, including Information & Referral, Emergency Services, and Health-Related services
Private-non-profit service agencies, under contract with the state, provide specialized services to eligible newcomers.
During FFY 2012, approximately 5,500 individuals received one or more social services through the NC Refugee Assistance Program.
Employment performance goals are established each year.
Employability services (assistance with preparing for, obtaining and keeping a job) were provided to approximately 2,000 individuals during FFY 2012.
Performance Outcomes achieved in FFY 2012 include:
- 1,959 individuals received Employment Services, including Employability Assessments, Pre-Employment Services and Job Development, Job Placement, and Job Follow-Up services;
- Nearly 1,600 RAP participants were placed in jobs, with an average wage of $8.65/hour; and
- Ninety-seven percent (97%) retained employment and were still working three months after initial placement. RAP participants have ensured that NC has one of the highest job retention rates in the nation.
Refugees who come to NC are individuals fleeing from persecution in their homelands who have been approved for legal and permanent residence in the U.S. by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). While living overseas, U.S. CIS staff interview and approve refugees found to have a valid persecution claim and deemed admissible to the U.S. after criminal background checks and health/mental health screening.
Once refugee status is established, a joint effort conducted by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and DHS-CIS, arranges for an approved individual’s resettlement in the United States. The initial resettlement effort inside the U.S. is provided under the U.S. DOS Reception and Placement (R&P) Program. After the initial resettlement period, NC RAP services continue to be provided to eligible individuals until they obtain U.S. citizenship (for some services) or through their first 5 years of U.S. resettlement, through programs funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. DHHS.
Each year the U.S. government sets a maximum number (ceiling) of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. – the ceiling for refugee admissions in FFY 2013 is 70,000 individuals.
In FFY 2012, 58,238 of the proposed 76,000 refugees arrived to the U.S., of which 2,203 were resettled in North Carolina. Included in the numbers of refugees resettled in NC are those individuals who are classified as Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Holders from Iraq and Afghanistan.Increasingly higher numbers of newcomers are being resettled in North Carolina, totaling about 4% of total arrivals nationwide. Twenty (20) North Carolina counties welcomed refugee newcomers in FFY 2012.
In FFY 2012, Refugees resettled primarily in the following areas:
- The Triangle (Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties) – 692
- The Piedmont Triad (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point metropolitan area) – 635
- The Charlotte Metropolitan Area – 618
- Craven County – 155
Other Eligible Recipients
In addition to refugees who arrive through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, other eligible recipients of the NC Refugee Assistance Program include:
- Asylees (105 in FFY 2012)
- Certain Cuban/Haitian Entrants and Parolees (139 in FFY 2012)
- Certain Amerasians (from Vietnam) (5 in FFY 2012)
- Victims of Human Trafficking (2 in FFY 2012)
Power Point Presentations from the 2013 NC Refugee Assistance Program Conference
Opening Plenary Power Point
Power Point by Barbara Day of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Power Point by Carol Brooke of the NC Justice Center
Power Point by Gail Andersen regarding DSS Benefits
Sandra White’s Presentation on Refugees and Emergency Preparedness
North Carolina State Refugee Office Contact Information
For more information about the NC Refugee Assistance Program, contact the North Carolina State Refugee Coordinator or one of the State Refugee Program Consultants.
Marlene Myers, State Refugee Coordinator
Gail Andersen, State Refugee Program Consultant
Lynne Little, State Refugee Program Consultant
Jamie Mills, State Refugee Program Consultant
Pat W. Priest, State Refugee Program Consultant
Phone assistance may be obtained by calling the DSS Economic and Family Services Section operator at (919) 527-6300, who will connect you to staff within the NC Refugee Assistance Program.
NC Division of Social Services, Economic and Family Services Section
Phone: (919) 527-6300
Fax: (919) 334-1265
To find out more about refugee service providers in your area, contact any of the local refugee service providers.
To learn more about policy for the NC Refugee Assistance Program, read the Refugee Assistance Manual, available online at the NC DHHS website.
We strive to keep this information as accurate as possible. If information on this page needs to be updated, please Email us.
Page Modified 10/02/2013