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Title 45Subtitle BChapter IVPart 400 → Subpart E


Title 45: Public Welfare
PART 400—REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM


Subpart E—Refugee Cash Assistance


Contents
§400.45   Requirements for the operation of an AFDC-type RCA program.
§400.48   Basis and scope.
§400.49   Recovery of overpayments and correction of underpayments.
§400.50   Opportunity to apply for cash assistance.
§400.51   Determination of eligibility under other programs.
§400.52   Emergency cash assistance to refugees.
§400.53   General eligibility requirements.
§400.54   Notice and hearings.
§400.55   Availability of agency policies.
§400.56   Structure.
§400.57   Planning and consultation process.
§400.58   Content and submission of public/private RCA plan.
§400.59   Eligibility for the public/private RCA program.
§400.60   Payment levels.
§400.61   Services to public/private RCA recipients.
§400.62   Treatment of eligible secondary migrants, asylees, and Cuban/Haitian entrants.
§400.63   Preparation of local resettlement agencies.
§400.65   Continuation of a publicly-administered RCA program.
§400.66   Eligibility and payment levels in a publicly-administered RCA program.
§400.67   Non-applicable TANF requirements.
§400.68   Notification to local resettlement agency.
§400.69   Alternative RCA programs.

Source: 65 FR 15443, Mar. 22, 2000, unless otherwise noted.

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§400.45   Requirements for the operation of an AFDC-type RCA program.

This section applies to a State's RCA program that follows the State's rules under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program under title IV-A of the Social Security Act, prior to amendment by Public Law 104-33. A State must continue to apply these rules to its RCA program until it implements a new RCA program under §400.56 or §400.65. A State that receives an approved waiver under §400.300 to continue an AFDC-type RCA program must follow the rules in this section.

(a) Recovery of overpayments and correction of underpayments. The State agency must comply with regulations at §233.20(a)(13) of this title governing recovery of overpayments and correction of underpayments in the AFDC program.

(b) Opportunity to apply for cash assistance. (1) A State must provide any individual wishing to do so, an opportunity to apply for cash assistance and must determine the eligibility of each applicant.

(2) In determining eligibility for cash assistance, the State must—

(i) Comply with the regulations at part 206 of this title governing applications, determinations of eligibility, and furnishing assistance under public assistance programs, as applicable to the AFDC program;

(ii) Determine eligibility for other cash assistance programs in accordance with §400.51; and

(iii) Comply with regulations at §§400.54(a)(3) and 400.68.

(c) Emergency cash assistance to refugees—A State must comply with the regulations at §400.52.

(d) General eligibility requirements—A State must comply with the regulations at §400.53.

(e) Consideration of income and resources. In considering the income and resources of applicants for and recipients of refugee cash assistance, the State agency must:

(1) Apply the regulations at §233.20(a)(3) through (2) of this title for considering income and resources of AFDC applicants; and

(2) Apply the regulations at §400.66(b) through (d).

(f) Need standards and payment levels. (1) In determining need for refugee cash assistance, a State agency must use the State's AFDC need standards established under §233.20(a)(1) and (2) of this title.

(2) In determining the amount of the refugee cash assistance payment to an eligible refugee who meets the standards in paragraph (f)(1) of this section and applying the consideration of income and resources in paragraph (e) of this section and in §400.66(b) through (d), a State must pay 100 percent of the payment level which would be appropriate for an eligible filing unit of the same size under the AFDC program.

(3) The State agency may use the date of application as the date refugee cash assistance begins in order to provide payments quickly to newly arrived refugees.

(g) Proration of shelter, utilities, and similar needs—If a State prorated allowances for shelter, utilities, and similar needs in its AFDC program under §233.20(a)(5) of this title, it must prorate such allowances in the same manner in its refugee assistance programs.

(h) Other AFDC requirements applicable to refugee cash assistance—In administering the program of refugee cash assistance, the State agency must also apply the following AFDC regulations in this title:

233.31   Budgeting methods for AFDC.

233.32   Payment and budget months (AFDC).

233.33   Determining eligibility prospectively for all payment months (AFDC).

233.34   Computing the assistance payment in the initial one or two months (AFDC).

233.35   Computing the assistance payment under retrospective budgeting after the initial one or two months (AFDC).

233.36   Monthly reporting (AFDC)—which shall apply to recipients of refugee cash assistance who have been in the United States more than 6 months.

233.37   How monthly reports are treated and what notices are required (AFDC).

235.110   Fraud.

General

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§400.48   Basis and scope.

This subpart sets forth requirements concerning grants to States under section 412(e) of the Act for refugee cash assistance (RCA). Sections 400.48 through 400.55 apply to both public/private RCA programs and publicly-administered RCA programs.

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§400.49   Recovery of overpayments and correction of underpayments.

The State agency or its designee agency(s) must maintain a procedure to ensure recovery of overpayments and correction of underpayments in the RCA program.

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§400.50   Opportunity to apply for cash assistance.

(a) A State or its designee agency(s) must provide any individual wishing to do so, an opportunity to apply for cash assistance and must determine the eligibility of each applicant as promptly as possible within no more than 30 days from the date of application.

(b) A State or its designee agency(s) must inform applicants about the eligibility requirements and the rights and responsibilities of applicants and recipients under the program.

(c) In determining eligibility for cash assistance, the State or its designee agency(s) must promptly refer elderly or disabled refugees and refugees with dependent children to other cash assistance programs to apply for assistance in accordance with §400.51.

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§400.51   Determination of eligibility under other programs.

(a) TANF. For refugees determined ineligible for cash assistance under the TANF program, the State or its designee must determine eligibility for refugee cash assistance in accordance with §§400.53 and 400.59 in the case of the public/private RCA program or §§400.53 and 400.66 in the case of a publicly-administered RCA program.

(b) Cash assistance to the aged, blind, and disabled—(1) SSI. (i) The State agency or its designee must refer refugees who are 65 years of age or older, or who are blind or disabled, promptly to the Social Security Administration to apply for cash assistance under the SSI program.

(ii) If the State agency or its designee determines that a refugee who is 65 years of age or older, or blind or disabled, is eligible for refugee cash assistance, it must furnish such assistance until eligibility for cash assistance under the SSI program is determined, provided the conditions of eligibility for refugee cash assistance continue to be met.

(2) OAA, AB, APTD, or AABD. In Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands—

(i) Eligibility for cash assistance under the OAA, AB, APTD, or AABD program must be determined for refugees who are 65 years or older, or who are blind or disabled; and

(ii) If a refugee who is 65 years of age or older, or blind or disabled, is determined to be eligible for refugee cash assistance, such assistance must be furnished until eligibility for cash assistance under the OAA, AB, APTD, or AABD program is determined, provided the conditions of eligibility for refugee cash assistance continue to be met.

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§400.52   Emergency cash assistance to refugees.

If the State agency or its designee determines that a refugee has an urgent need for cash assistance, it should process the application for cash assistance as quickly as possible and issue the initial payment to the refugee on an emergency basis.

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§400.53   General eligibility requirements.

(a) Eligibility for refugee cash assistance is limited to those who—

(1) Are new arrivals who have resided in the U.S. less than the RCA eligibility period determined by the ORR Director in accordance with §400.211;

(2) Are ineligible for TANF, SSI, OAA, AB, APTD, and AABD programs;

(3) Meet immigration status and identification requirements in subpart D of this part or are the dependent children of, and part of the same family unit as, individuals who meet the requirements in subpart D, subject to the limitation in §400.208 with respect to nonrefugee children; and

(4) Are not full-time students in institutions of higher education, as defined by the Director.

(b) A refugee may be eligible for refugee cash assistance under this subpart during a period to be determined by the Director in accordance with §400.211.

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§400.54   Notice and hearings.

(a) Timely and adequate notice. (1) A written notice must be sent or provided to a recipient at least 10 days before the date upon which refugee cash assistance will be reduced, suspended, or terminated.

(2) In providing notice to an applicant or recipient to indicate that assistance has been authorized, denied, reduced, suspended, or terminated, the written notice must clearly state the action that will be taken, the reasons for the action, and the right to request a hearing.

(3) In providing notice to an applicant or recipient to indicate that assistance has been authorized, denied, reduced, suspended, or terminated, the State or its designee agency(s) must specify the program(s) to which the notice applies, clearly distinguishing between RCA and other assistance programs. For example, in the case of a publicly-administered program, if a refugee applies for assistance and is determined ineligible for TANF but eligible for refugee cash assistance, the notice to the applicant must specify clearly the determinations with respect both to TANF and to refugee cash assistance. When a recipient of refugee cash assistance is notified of termination because of reaching the time limit on such assistance, the State or its designee must review the case file to determine possible eligibility for TANF or GA due to changed circumstances and the notice to the recipient must indicate the result of that determination as well as the termination of RCA.

(b) Hearings. All applicants for and recipients of refugee cash assistance must be provided an opportunity for a hearing to contest adverse determinations. States must ensure that hearings meet the due process standards in Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254 (1970).

(1) Public/private RCA programs. The State must specify in the public/private RCA plan the hearing procedures to be used in the RCA program. The plan may specify that the local resettlement agency(s) will refer all hearing requests to a State-administered hearing process. If the plan does not specify the use of a State-administered hearing process, then the procedures to be followed must include:

(i) The State or local resettlement agency(s) responsible for the provision of RCA must provide an applicant for or recipient of refugee cash assistance an opportunity for an oral hearing to contest adverse determinations. Hearings must be conducted by an impartial official or designee of the State or local resettlement agency who has not been involved directly in the initial determination of the action in question.

(ii) The State must ensure that procedures are established to provide refugees a right of final appeal for an in-person hearing provided by an impartial, independent entity outside of the local resettlement agency.

(iii) Final administrative action must be taken within 60 days from the date of a request for a hearing.

(2) Publicly-administered RCA programs. The State must specify in the State Plan referenced in §400.4 the public agency hearing procedures it intends to use in the RCA program.

(3) In both a public/private RCA program and a publicly-administered RCA program, the written notice of any hearing determination must adequately explain the basis for the decision and the refugee's right to request any further administrative or judicial review.

(4) In both a public/private RCA program and a publicly-administered RCA program, a refugee's benefits may not be terminated prior to completion of final administrative action, but are subject to recovery by the agency if the action is sustained.

(5) In both a public/private RCA program and a publicly-administered RCA program, a hearing need not be granted when Federal law requires automatic grant adjustments for classes of recipients unless the reason for an individual appeal is an incorrect grant computation.

(6) In both a public/private RCA program and a publicly-administered RCA program, a hearing need not be granted when assistance is terminated because the eligibility time period imposed by law has been reached, unless there is a disputed issue of fact that is unresolved by the process in §400.23.

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§400.55   Availability of agency policies.

A State, or the agency(s) responsible for the provision of RCA, must make available to refugees the written policies of the RCA program, including agency policies regarding eligibility standards, the duration and amount of cash assistance payments, the requirements for participation in services, the penalties for non-cooperation, and client rights and responsibilities to ensure that refugees understand what they are eligible for, what is expected of them, and what protections are available to them. The State, or the agency(s) responsible for the provision of RCA, must ensure that agency policy materials and all notices required in §§400.54, 400.82, and 400.83, are made available in written form in English and in appropriate languages where a significant number or proportion of the recipient population needs information in a particular language. In regard to refugee language groups that constitute a small number or proportion of the recipient population, the State, or the agency(s) responsible for the provision of RCA, at a minimum, must use an alternative method, such as verbal translation in the refugee's native language, to ensure that the content of the agency's policies is effectively communicated to each refugee.

Public/Private RCA Program

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§400.56   Structure.

(a) States may choose to enter into a partnership agreement with local resettlement agencies for the operation of a public/private RCA program. Sections 400.56 through 400.63 apply to the public/private RCA program.

(b) The public/private RCA program must be administered by the State through contracts or grants with local resettlement agencies or a lead resettlement agency that provides initial resettlement services under the terms of the Department of State Cooperative Agreement for Reception and Placement.

(c) The public/private RCA program must be statewide, unless the State determines that it is not in the best interests of refugees to provide a public/private RCA program in a particular area of the State.

(d) Local resettlement agencies may be responsible for determining eligibility, and authorizing and providing payments to eligible refugees.

(e) States and local resettlement agencies may not propose to operate a public/private RCA program and a publicly-administered RCA program in the same geographic location.

(f) States must ensure the provision of RCA assistance to eligible refugees in the State who are sponsored by local resettlement agencies in bordering states, where applicable.

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§400.57   Planning and consultation process.

A State that wishes to establish a public/private RCA program must engage in a planning and consultation process with the local agencies that resettle refugees in the State to develop a public/private RCA plan in accordance with the requirements under §400.58.

(a) Primary participants in the planning process must include representatives of the State and each local agency that resettles refugees in the State. During the planning process, the State must fully consult with representatives of counties, refugee mutual assistance associations (MAAs), local community services agencies, national voluntary agencies that resettle refugees in the State, representatives of each refugee ethnic group, and other agencies that serve refugees.

(b) Each local resettlement agency that resettles refugees in the State must inform its national resettlement agency of the proposed public/private RCA program and must obtain a letter of agreement from the national agency that indicates that the national agency supports the public/private RCA plan and will continue to place refugees in the State under the public/private RCA program.

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§400.58   Content and submission of public/private RCA plan.

(a) States and local resettlement agencies must develop a public/private RCA plan which describes how the State and local resettlement agencies will administer and provide refugee cash assistance to eligible refugees. The plan must describe the agreed-upon public/private RCA program including:

(1) The proposed income standard to be used to determine RCA eligibility;

(2) The proposed payment levels to be used to provide cash assistance to eligible refugees;

(3) Assurance that the payment levels established are not lower than the comparable State TANF amounts;

(4) A detailed description of how benefit payments will be structured, including a description of employment incentives and/or income disregards to be used, if any, as well as methods of payment to be used, such as direct cash or vendor payments;

(5) A description of how all RCA eligible refugees residing in the State will have reasonable access to cash assistance and services;

(6) A description of the procedures to be used to ensure appropriate protections and due process for refugees, such as the correction of underpayments, notice of adverse action and the right to mediation, a pre-dermination hearing, and an appeal to an independent entity;

(7) A description of proposed exemptions from participation in employability services;

(8) A description of the employment and self-sufficiency services to be provided to RCA recipients by—

(i) Local resettlement agencies under contract or grant, and/or

(ii) Other refugee services providers;

(9) Procedures for providing RCA to eligible secondary migrants who move to the State, including secondary migrants who were sponsored by a local resettlement agency that does not have a presence in the receiving State;

(10) If applicable, provisions for providing assistance to refugees resettling in the State who are sponsored by a local resettlement agency in a bordering State which does not have an office in the State of resettlement;

(11) A description of the procedures to be used to safeguard the disclosure of information regarding refugee clients;

(12) Letters of agreement from the national voluntary resettlement agencies that indicate support for the proposed public/private RCA program and indicate that refugee placements in the State will continue under the public/private RCA program;

(13) A breakdown of the proposed program and administrative costs of both the cash assistance and service components of the public/private RCA program, including any per capita caps on administrative costs only if a State proposes to use such caps; and

(14) The proposed implementation date for the State's public/private RCA program;

(b) In cases where the State, after consultation with the local resettlement agencies in the State, determines that a public/private RCA program is not feasible statewide and proposes to implement a public/private RCA program in only a portion of the State and to operate a publicly-administered RCA program in the balance of the State, the State's RCA plan must include the information required in §400.65(b).

(c) The plan must be signed by the Governor or his or her designee.

(d) The Director of ORR will follow the procedures in §400.8 for the approval of public/private RCA plans. An approved public/private RCA plan will be incorporated into the refugee program State Plan.

(e) Any amendments to the public/private RCA plan must be developed in consultation with the local resettlement agencies and must be submitted to ORR in accordance with §400.8. The Director of ORR will follow the procedures in §400.8 for approval of amendments to public/private RCA plans.

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§400.59   Eligibility for the public/private RCA program.

(a) Eligibility for refugee cash assistance under the public/private program is limited to those who meet the income eligibility standard established by the State after consultation with local resettlement agencies in the State.

(b) Any resources remaining in the applicant's country of origin may not be considered in determining income eligibility.

(c) A sponsor's income and resources may not be considered to be accessible to a refugee solely because the person is serving as a sponsor.

(d) Any cash grant received by a refugee under the Department of State or Department of Justice Reception and Placement programs may not be considered in determining income eligibility.

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§400.60   Payment levels.

(a) Under the public/private RCA program, States and the local resettlement agencies contracted or awarded grants to administer the RCA program must make monthly cash assistance payments to eligible refugees that do not exceed the following payment ceilings, according to the number of persons in the family unit, except as noted in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. For family units greater than 4 persons, the payment ceiling may be increased by $70 for each additional person.

Size of family unit Monthly payment ceiling
1 person$335
2 persons450
3 persons570
4 persons685

(b) States and local resettlement agencies may not make payments to refugees that are lower than the State's TANF payment for the same sized family unit. In States that have TANF payment levels that are higher than the ceilings established in this section, States and local resettlement agencies must provide payment levels under the public/private RCA program that are comparable to the State's TANF payment levels.

(c) Income disregards and other incentives. (1) States and local resettlement agencies may design an assistance program that combines RCA payments with income disregards or other incentives such as employment bonuses, or graduated payments in order to encourage early employment and self-sufficiency, as long as the total combined payments to a refugee do not exceed the ORR monthly ceilings established in this section multiplied by the allowable number of months of RCA eligibility.

(2) States that elect to exceed monthly payment ceilings in order to provide employment incentives must budget their resources to ensure that sufficient RCA funds are available to cover a refugee's cash assistance needs in the latter months of a refugee's eligibility period, if needed.

(d) If the Director determines that the payment ceilings need to be adjusted for inflation, the Director will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the new payment ceilings.

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§400.61   Services to public/private RCA recipients.

(a) Services provided to recipients of refugee cash assistance in the public/private RCA program may be provided by the local resettlement agencies that administer the public/private RCA program or by other refugee service agencies.

(b) Allowable services under the public/private program are limited to those services described in §§400.154 and 400.155 and are to be funded in accordance with §400.206.

(c) In public/private programs in which local resettlement agencies are responsible for administering both cash assistance and services, States and local resettlement agencies must coordinate on a regular basis with refugee mutual assistance associations and other ethnic representatives that represent or serve the ethnic populations that are being resettled in the U.S. to ensure that the services provided under the public/private RCA program:

(1) Are appropriate to the linguistic and cultural needs of the incoming populations; and

(2) Are coordinated with the longer-term resettlement services frequently provided by ethnic community organizations after the end of the time-limited RCA eligibility period.

(d) In public/private programs in which the agencies responsible for providing services to RCA recipients are not the same agencies that administer the cash assistance program, the State must:

(1) Establish procedures to ensure close coordination between the local resettlement agencies that provide cash assistance and the agencies that provide services to RCA recipients; and

(2) Set up a system of accountability that identifies the responsibilities of each participating agency and holds these agencies accountable for the results of the program components for which they are responsible.

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§400.62   Treatment of eligible secondary migrants, asylees, and Cuban/Haitian entrants.

The State and local resettlement agencies must establish procedures to ensure that eligible secondary migrant refugees, asylees, and Cuban/Haitian entrants have access to public/private RCA assistance if they wish to apply. In developing these procedures, consideration must be given to ensuring coverage of eligible secondary migrants and other eligible applicants who were sponsored by a resettlement agency which does not have a presence in the State or who were not sponsored by any agency.

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§400.63   Preparation of local resettlement agencies.

The State and the national voluntary agencies whose affiliate agencies will be responsible for implementing the public/private RCA program:

(a) Must determine the training needed to enable local resettlement agencies to achieve a smooth implementation of the RCA program; and

(b) Must provide the training in a uniform way to ensure that all local resettlement agencies in the State will implement the public/private RCA program in a consistent manner.

Publicly-Administered RCA Programs

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§400.65   Continuation of a publicly-administered RCA program.

Sections 400.65 through 400.69 apply to publicly-administered RCA programs. If a State chooses to operate a publicly-administered RCA program:

(a) The State may operate its refugee cash assistance program consistent with its TANF program.

(b) The State must submit an amendment to its State Plan, describing the elements of its TANF program that will be used in its refugee cash assistance program.

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§400.66   Eligibility and payment levels in a publicly-administered RCA program.

(a) In administering a publicly-administered refugee cash assistance program, the State agency must operate its refugee cash assistance program consistent with the provisions of its TANF program in regard to:

(1) The determination of initial and on-going eligibility (treatment of income and resources, budgeting methods, need standard);

(2) The determination of benefit amounts (payment levels based on size of the assistance unit, income disregards);

(3) Proration of shelter, utilities, and similar needs; and

(4) Any other State TANF rules relating to financial eligibility and payments.

(b) The State agency may not consider any resources remaining in the applicant's country of origin in determining income eligibility.

(c) The State agency may not consider a sponsor's income and resources to be accessible to a refugee solely because the person is serving as a sponsor.

(d) The State agency may not consider any cash grant received by the applicant under the Department of State or Department of Justice Reception and Placement programs.

(e) The State agency may use the date of application as the date refugee cash assistance begins in order to provide payments quickly to newly arrived refugees.

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§400.67   Non-applicable TANF requirements.

States that choose to operate an RCA program modeled after TANF may not apply certain TANF requirements to refugee cash assistance applicants or recipients as follows: TANF work requirements may not apply to RCA applicants or recipients, and States must meet the requirements in subpart I of this part with respect to the provision of services for RCA recipients.

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§400.68   Notification to local resettlement agency.

(a) The State must notify promptly the local resettlement agency which provided for the initial resettlement of a refugee whenever the refugee applies for refugee cash assistance under a publicly-administered RCA program.

(b) The State must contact the applicant's sponsor or the local resettlement agency concerning offers of employment and inquire whether the applicant has voluntarily quit employment or has refused to accept an offer of employment within 30 consecutive days immediately prior to the date of application, in accordance with §400.77(a).

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§400.69   Alternative RCA programs.

A State that determines that a public/private RCA program or a publicly-administered program modeled after its TANF program is not the best approach for the State may choose instead to establish an alternative approach under the Wilson/Fish program, authorized by section 412(e)(7) of the INA.

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