Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)

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Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) program is for needy refugees without children who are not otherwise eligible for any other cash aid and may be eligible for 8 months of RCA.  


A person may be eligible for RCA if they meet all of the following conditions:

  • They have resided in the United States for less than eight months;
  • They meet the immigration status requirements
  • They meet the income and resource requirements
  • They meet the work and training requirements
  • They provide the name of the voluntary agency (VOLAG) which helped bring them to this country.

Applying for RCA

RCA may be applied for online or in person:

Online – Visit MyBenefits CalWIN to begin the online application process. A face-to-face interview at the Department of Employment and Social Services will be required to complete the RCA application process.

In person – To apply in person, visit one of our two offices in Yolo County

25 N. Cottonwood Street, Woodland or

500-A Jefferson Blvd., West Sacramento

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If I am an asylee, what date will be used as an entry date?
If you are an asylee, your entry date will be the date that your asylum status is granted. For example: You entered the United States on December 1, 1999 as a tourist, then applied for asylum on April 1, 2000, interviewed with the asylum office on July 1, 2000 and were granted asylum on September 1, 2000. Your entry date is September 1, 2000. On September 1, 2000, you may be eligible for refugee cash assistance.

If I am a victim of human trafficking, what kind of documentation do I need to provide to be eligible for RCA?
You are eligible for RCA to the same extent as a refugee if you are:

  • An adult victim, eighteen years of age or older, you provide the original certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and you meet eligibility requirements.
  • A child victim under the age of eighteen, with a special letter for children issued by DHHS. Children also have to meet income eligibility requirements;
  • A family member of a certified victim of human trafficking, you have a T-2, T-3, T-4, or T-5 Visa (Derivative T-Visas), and you meet other eligibility requirements.

Does getting a one-time cash grant from a voluntary agency (VOLAG) affect my eligibility for RCA?
No. In determining your eligibility for RCA, your local county office does not count a one-time resettlement cash grant provided to you by your VOLAG.

How long does RCA last?
Your RCA ends on the last day of the eighth month starting with the month of your arrival to the United States. Count the eight months from the first day of the month of your entry into the United States. For example, if you entered the United States on May 28, 2000, May is your first month and December 2000 is your last month of RCA.
If you get a job, your income will affect your RCA based on the TANF rules. If you earn more than is allowed, you are no longer eligible for RCA. Your medical coverage may continue for up to eight months from your month of arrival in the United States.

Are there other reasons why RCA may end?
Your RCA also ends if:

  1. You move out of the state;
  2. Your unearned income and/or resources go over the maximum limit; or
  3. You, without good cause, refuse to meet refugee employment and training requirements.

Will my spouse be eligible for RCA, if he/she arrives in the U.S. after me?
When your spouse arrives in the United States, the local county office determines his/her eligibility for RCA and/or other cash assistance programs.
Your spouse may be eligible for up to eight months of RCA based on his/her date of arrival into the United States.
If you live together, you and your spouse are part of the same assistance unit and your spouse's eligibility for RCA is determined based on your and your spouse's combined income.

Contact Us

25 N. Cottonwood Street 
Woodland, CA 95695 
530-661-2750 or 1-866-226-5415 

500-A Jefferson Blvd., Suite 100 
W. Sacramento, CA 95605 
916-375-6200 or 1-866-226-5415

Days and Hours of Operation: 
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 p.m.