Refugee Programs Bureau (RPB)
Uniting for Ukraine Program | Federal and State Benefits | Public Charge | Opportunities
Uniting for Ukraine Program
On April 21, 2022, President Biden announced that 100,000 people forced to flee Ukraine will be able to seek safe haven in the United States.
Effective April 25, 2022, these individuals can apply to come to the U.S. under a government program known as "Uniting for Ukraine" administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), through an online portal. Coming to the U.S. through this pathway requires support from a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or other legally-residing individual or sponsor – including representatives of non-governmental organizations.
On May 21, 2022, President Biden signed into law the "Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022" which provides emergency funds to support Ukrainians entering the United States through the Uniting for Ukraine program.
Federal and State Benefits
Ukrainians are expected to enter the United States with many different immigration statuses. The federal government issued Policy Letter 22-13, which provides specific guidance regarding public benefit eligibility for Ukrainians. Counties should follow the new guidance when determining the eligibility of Ukrainian humanitarian parolees for public benefits.
The information below provides an overview of benefit eligibility, including for individuals entering with humanitarian parole:
- ACWDL-Erratum, dated July 22, 2022 - Revision to Attachment B of the All County Welfare Director’s Letter dated July 6, 2022, regarding benefits eligibility chart for humanitarian parolees from Ukraine.
- ACWDL, dated July 6, 2022 - Eligibility of Humanitarian Parolees From Ukraine.
- ACIN I-40-22 - Eligibility of Ukrainian Nationals for Federal and State Benefits.
- ACIN I-40-22E - Erratum to Attachment A of the ACIN I-40-22 Regarding Benefits Eligibility for Ukrainian Arrivals in California.
- Ukrainian humanitarian parolees who have children may be eligible for state-funded CalWORKs (cash assistance and services). Although there are currently no state or federal cash programs for Ukrainian humanitarian parolees without children, the county may provide General Assistance/General Relief for those who meet eligibility requirements.
- Ukrainian arrivals may also be eligible for state-funded, county-administered housing and homeless assistance programs (eligibility based on level of risk for homelessness).
The CDSS Resource Guide for Ukrainian Newcomers (English and українець) is a digital and print-ready tri-fold brochure summarizing common federal and state benefits relevant to Ukrainian Newcomers and is available for electronic distribution and printing. The resource guide includes links to websites and phone numbers to help Ukrainian Newcomers access certain benefits and prepare documentation required at common social and government services appointments in California. A translated Russian language copy is also forthcoming and will be posted in this section.
Most immigrants are not subject to public charge; however, Afghan Humanitarian Parolees, Afghan SI/SQ Parolees, and Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees are not currently explicitly exempted. The new rule details change in how DHS will interpret public charge, clarifies DHS policy regarding those to whom the public charge rule applies, and explicitly exempts those granted refugee benefits by Congress.
Volunteer, Donation, and Informational Opportunities
For additional information about volunteer and donation opportunities related to the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis, please see the resources below:
- The U.S. Department of State partnered with GoFundMe to create a fundraiser to solicit donations for non-profit organizations helping Ukrainians obtain access to shelter, food, medical services, education, and psychosocial support.
- USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information website provides additional information about opportunities to support organizations responding in the Ukraine.
- Those wishing to help Ukrainian refugees who have already been resettled in the U.S. via the Lautenberg Program can contact their local resettlement agencies in California.
- We encourage those who are interested in assisting to visit the U.S. Department of State’s “United with Ukraine” website.
If you are interested in donating to organizations serving Ukrainians, please review the Office of the Attorney General’s guidance on how to avoid charity fraud or scams.
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