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Services to Older Refugees

The federal Services to Older Refugees Program, referred to in California as the Elderly Services Set-Aside (ESSA), provides funding to assist refugees who are 60 years of age or older.  The state’s ESSA program:

  • Establishes and/or expands working relationships between refugee service providers and local Area Agencies on Aging to ensure that older refugees are linked to mainstream senior services; and
  • Assists older refugees with the naturalization process, particularly those individuals who have lost, or are at risk of losing, their Supplemental Security Income benefits due to their noncitizen status.

For Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2017, the Refugee Programs Bureau will allocate ESSA funding to impacted counties as appropriate.  The state allocates to participating counties based on the number of older refugees in the counties receiving public assistance.

The ESSA is awarded by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to states through a formula grant process to states with 30 or more elderly arrivals for FFY 2013-14.

Below are links to more information on the ESSA program.  If you have questions, please contact the Refugee Programs Bureau (RPB) at (916) 654-4356, or at RPB@dss.ca.gov.

NOTE:  Some links below are to documents in Adobe Acrobat portable document format (PDF).  Please see Tips for Using Adobe PDF Files for details.