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FY 2016 – Services to Elderly Refugees - Social Services Set-Aside

State Letter 15-10

Published: August 12, 2015

To:  State Refugee Coordinators       
        State Refugee Health Coordinators
       National Voluntary Agencies
       Other Interested Parties 
From:  Robert Carey
            Office of Refugee Resettlement

Subject: FY 2016 – Services to Elderly Refugees - Social Services Set-Aside

Based on discussions with Refugee State Coordinators and the Administration for Children and Families Division of Grants Policy it was determined that a discretionary grant award was not an efficient and effective mechanism given that ORR’s primary goal is to ensure funding follows incoming arrivals irrespective of panel scoring.

ORR received approval to issue awards through the more efficient formula grant process. This change will reduce the administrative burden to States as well as ensure a more proportional distribution of funding.

The ORR formula allocation will use elderly refugee arrivals for the previous two fiscal years as a qualifying basis for the set-aside. The initial award allocation will also be based on that period so that states can maintain services as we transition from a discretionary to formula award process.   All States with total arrivals in FY2013 and FY2014 in excess of 30 elderly arrivals (refugees, asylees, SIVs, Cuban and Haitian Entrants) will qualify for floor funding.  See table below.

Funding will be included in the quarterly FY2016 Social Services allocation. 

States must report on all activities as part of their ORR-6 submission, including a summary in the narrative section of the report. The summary should include information related to the number of clients served as well as the type and frequency of services provided.


Services to refugees must be provided in accordance with 45 C.F.R. Part 400 Subpart I Refugee Social Services, §400.154 Employability Services and §400.155 Other Services.  The allocation formula is based on arrivals of refugees aged 60 and above during the preceding two years.  States may provide services to refugees who have been in the country up to 60 months (5 years), with the exception of referral and interpreter services and citizenship and naturalization preparation services for which there is no time limitation (45 C.F.R. 400.152(b)).
Primary focus areas for States receiving funds for elderly refugees:
a) Mainstream Outreach - Establish and/or expand a working relationship with the State Agency on Aging and the local community Area Agency on Aging to ensure elderly refugees will be linked to mainstream aging services in the community;
b) Service Enhancement - Provide appropriate services to all elderly refugees that are not currently being provided in the community;
c) Independent Living - Create opportunities to enable elderly refugees to live independently as long as possible; and
d) Naturalization - Develop services for or link elderly refugees to naturalization services, especially for those who have lost or are at risk of losing Supplemental Security Income and other Federal benefits.

Allowable activities within these focus areas may include:

  • Assistance to all older refugees for the purpose of accessing available aging services. This includes but is not limited to:
  • Access to senior community centers, supportive services, intergenerational activities
  • Congregate nutrition services and meals delivered to homebound client residences; Transportation;
  • Interpretation and translation;
  • Home care, adult day care and respite care;
  • Elder abuse prevention;
  • Nursing home ombudsman services;
  • Citizenship and naturalization for elderly refugees. Allowable activities include services such as outreach, civics instruction and counseling and application assistance.  Application fees for citizenship examinations are not allowable using the set aside funds.

As part of the Social Services grant, ORR will be enhancing monitoring to ensure the program is targeting services to best meet the needs of incoming elderly refugees. ORR will be assessing the provision of these services and identifying best practices as a basis for future formula funding determinations and set-aside activities.  

Please direct any questions on this State Letter to Carl Rubenstein, DRA Director.

FY2016 Elderly Social Services Set - Aside Table

State Name  Total FY2013-FY2014 arrivals Total FY2016 Funding*
Florida 2,950 $218,649
California 1,984 $147,051
Texas 812 $121,500
Michigan 706 $121,500
New York 558 $121,500
Illinois 347 $97,200
Arizona 339 $97,200
Pennsylvania 335 $97,200
Ohio 309 $97,200
Virginia 275 $97,200
Georgia 231 $97,200
Washington 207 $97,200
Massachusetts 185 $97,200
North Carolina 180 $97,200
Minnesota 166 $97,200
Kentucky 165 $97,200
Colorado 155 $97,200
Nevada 147 $97,200
Tennessee 139 $97,200
New Jersey 121 $97,200
Maryland 118 $97,200
Missouri 106 $97,200
Oregon 104 $97,200
Nebraska 101 $97,200
Utah 90 $75,000
Wisconsin 69 $75,000
Indiana 66 $75,000
Idaho 63 $75,000
North Dakota 61 $75,000
Vermont 50 $75,000
Iowa 42 $75,000
Connecticut 40 $75,000
South Dakota 38 $75,000
New Hampshire 31 $75,000
Maine 31 $75,000
Total 11,321 $3,402,000

*FY2065 funding actions are subject to availability of funding and Congressional action

Last Reviewed: February 13, 2019