Refugee Medical Assistance

The Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) program provides short-term medical assistance to newly-arriving refugees and other populations who are eligible for ORR benefits. Refugee Medical Assistance is an important part of the larger Cash and Medical Assistance (CMA) program.

Refugee Medical Assistance is available for ORR-eligible populations who can’t get Medicaid. The benefits, which are generally similar to Medicaid, last for up to eight months from the date of arrival in the U.S., date of final grant of asylum, or date of certification for trafficking victims.

In addition to providing access to healthcare while refugees start rebuilding their lives, Refugee Medical Assistance funds enable refugees to complete a Refugee Medical Screening (RMS) upon arrival in the U.S., protecting public health and providing early health interventions.

State governments or state-alternative programs administer the RMA and RMS programs. In state-alternative programs, such as Wilson-Fish and Replacement Designee, a non-profit organization or other entity administers the state refugee program instead of the state government.

Refugee Medical Assistance and Refugee Medical Screening programs differ by locality. Services vary depending on state Medicaid programs and medical screening processes.

State governments and state-alternative agencies are required to outline the delivery of Refugee Medical Assistance and Refugee Medical Screening programs in their annual State Plans and budget estimates that are submitted to ORR. Cash and Medical Assistance awards are allocated annually as part of formula funding.

Contact your State Refugee Coordinator  to learn more about the Refugee Medical Assistance program in your state.

Last Reviewed: May 3, 2019