Refugees are fleeing life-threatening situations and coming to the United States to find safety. Unfortunately, starting over isn’t easy and support for refugees isn’t always strong. While there is some public assistance available, it’s limited and people often struggle to find work. Some refugees also struggle to get healthcare access since programs have different requirements and hoops to jump through.
Florida is a popular destination for refugees from a wide range of countries, but how easy is it for people to start over in the Sunshine State? Can Florida’s government assistance programs help refugees get healthcare?
Federal Programs for Refugees in Florida
Most of Florida’s refugee assistance programs use federal dollars. Refugees might be eligible for different programs, such as the Refugee Health Program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid.
Medical coverage through the Refugee Health Program must be initiated within eight months of arrival. There is a health assessment that must also be completed during this timeframe. Refugees must complete required immunizations within the first year of their arrival date as well.
The best way for refugees to find out which health plans they’re eligible for is to contact Florida’s refugee health services. There are lots of different factors that affect eligibility, and it’s important for refugees to apply for the correct health benefits so they can receive care when needed.
Once they have found employment, most refugees ultimately purchase insurance through an employer-sponsored plan or the healthcare marketplace. Low-income families may remain on Medicaid.
Non-Profit Assistance for Refugees
In addition to the federal programs through the state of Florida, there are also a number of non-profits operating in the state that will help refugees in need. The state works with some of these non-profits directly to help provide a variety of services for refugees, including
- Cash support
- Employment assistance
- Interpreter services
- Adult education
- Youth services
Each individual and family has different needs. By working with a variety of state offices and non-profits, refugees should be able to receive the assistance they need to ensure their success in the United States. The amount of assistance available varies depending on many different factors.
Public Assistance is Critical for Refugees
Most people who come to the United States as refugees don’t have the resources to support themselves initially. Public assistance is critical for helping them get on their feet and prepare them for the workforce in the United States.
Although there are programs designed to provide the assistance people need in getting necessities like housing, food, shelter, and medical care, it often comes up short. It can take a few years for refugees to become self-sufficient, and it’s important to ensure that they have the resources they need to get settled.
Getting the process started by reaching out to government agencies as soon as possible after resettlement is important for refugees. Medical coverage through the Refugee Health Program is available from the date asylum is granted to refugees. Contacting non-profits immediately will also help families get the help they need on arrival.
Refugees typically have a lot of trauma to process as they begin to rebuild their lives. But it’s important to have the basics covered so they can focus on the process of acclimating to their new home and becoming self-supporting.