Benefits for Refugees
The Refugee Program facilitates relocation and economic self-sufficiency to people who are victims of political and religious persecution that have been granted the legal right to rebuild their lives in the United States. The Refugee Program procures community-based services, which include adjustment counseling, orientation, English as a Second Language, vocational training, job readiness, and job placement.
Who is Eligible
Services for these programs are extended to the following individuals:
- Newly arriving refugees;
- Low-income immigrants;
- Resident non-citizens; and
- Limited English proficient (LEP) individuals.
The Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services funds, manages, and monitors contracts designed to:
- Help newly arriving refugees achieve self-sufficiency in the United States;
- Provide citizenship education and application services to resident non-citizens desiring to become United States citizens; and
- Provide outreach and interpretation services to limited English proficient individuals requiring supportive services.
To Apply For
Use the DHS Office Locator to locate an individual's local Family Community Resource Center or contact the Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services at:
- 1-800-447-6404 TTY
What services are offered?
Since 1975, Illinois has resettled more than 145,000 refugees from more than 60 countries. The Refugee Program facilitates relocation and economic self-sufficiency to people who are victims of political and religious persecution that have been granted the legal right to rebuild their lives in the United States. Due to the diverse ethnic characteristics, the Refugee Program designed a unique social service program to provide specialized bilingual services.
The Refugee Program procures community-based services which include adjustment counseling, orientation, English as a Second Language, vocational training, job readiness, and job placement. Bilingual mental health services are provided for those refugees who have experienced severe trauma and require therapy. There are a total of 11 program sites, seven are in Chicago, and four are outside Chicago city limits.
Illinois has been a leader nationwide in meeting the special needs of our foreign-born population. Based on the 2010 Census, 1.8 million immigrants (60% non-citizens) resided in our communities.
Refugee and Immigrant Citizenship Initiative (RICI)
RICI is the first state-funded program of its kind. Since 1995, 35 agencies have provided English as a Second Language, civics, and U.S. history instruction, as well as application services to more than 180,000 immigrants throughout Illinois.
Immigrant Family Resource Program
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) administers this project which seeks to assure that eligible immigrants in need access the public benefit programs administered by IDHS. Thirty-eight agencies provide outreach and community education in more than 40 languages and are available for interpreter services during IDHS transactions.
Illinois Immigrant Policy Project (IIPP)
Refugee and Immigrant services has produced a number of studies, including: Illinois Immigrants: Taxes Paid, Services Used; Citizenship Service Needs; New Immigrants and Refugees in Illinois; Public Aid and Illinois Immigrants; and A Profile of 1990–95 Arrivals. Adjunct activities include the Immigrant and Refugee Health Task Force, which produced "Building Linguistic and Cultural Competency: A Tool Kit for Managed Care." In FY' 03, IIPP released a series of four reports on the needs of immigrants concerning immigration law, labor, education, health, and human service issues.
Links to Important Resources
Learn more about the Refugee and Immigrant Program.
For a comprehensive list of public benefit eligibility based on citizenship status, click here.