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World Refugee Day Festival

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:

 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) 2013 (October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013), approximately 1,348 individuals received Refugee Cash Assistance and approximately 1,901 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:



RAP-SS includes:



Private-non-profit service agencies, under contract with the state, provide specialized services to eligible newcomers.


During FFY 2013, approximately 5,089 individuals received one or more social services through the NC Refugee Assistance Program.  A total of 5,416 individuals received any service (including children and elderly refugees through the School Impact and Services to Older Refugees Programs).


Employment performance goals are established each year.


Performance Outcomes achieved in FFY 2013 include:




Eligible Recipients




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 2014 is 70,000 individuals.  

In FFY 2013, 69,926 of the proposed 70,000 refugees arrived to the U.S., of which 2,419 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 approximately 4% of total arrivals nationwide.  Twenty-two (22) North Carolina counties welcomed refugee newcomers in FFY 2013.

Chart 1 County Refugee Resettlement Sites


In FFY 2013, Refugees resettled primarily in the following areas:



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 (85 in FFY 2013)
  • Certain Cuban/Haitian Entrants and Parolees (125 in FFY 2013)
  • Certain Amerasians (from Vietnam) (1 in FFY 2013)
  • Victims of Human Trafficking (4 in FFY 2013)

Refugee Contractor Memos

Memo 1-2014:  EEO Rules and Regulations/Recruitment, Posting of Vacancies, Hiring Standards & Selection Policies

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 05/08/2014

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