An asylee is a person who, similar to a refugee, is unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Both refugees and asylees must meet this legal standard; the difference is in where they apply for protection. A refugee applies for protection while overseas and enters the United States (U.S.) as a refugee, while an asylee requests protection and is granted asylum within the U.S.
An asylum seeker is a person, who is at a U.S. port of entry or has entered the United States and is requesting asylum.
Proposed public charge changes do not impact Asylees.
Asylees are eligible for public assistance benefits and social services starting on the date their asylum application is approved.
To apply for services, asylees must show documentation that asylum was granted. Eligibility is based on resource and income limits and varies by program: Refugee Cash Assistance, Refugee Medical Assistance or Medi-Cal , Refugee Support Services, Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program, CalWORKs, CalFresh, and Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment.
- To apply for benefits and services, contact the nearest county welfare department or apply online.