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ISSUE DATE: 11/2008

The United States Repatriation Program provides temporary financial assistance for needy U.S. citizens and their dependents returning from a foreign country because of destitution, illness, war, invasion, or a similar crisis. Funds may be used for the costs of rent, security and utility deposits, essential clothing and personal items, etc. Other services may be made available upon individual or family needs. These services may include, but are not limited to, admission into a nursing home or hospital, moving into permanent housing, or foster care placement.

Repatriation assistance is provided in the form of a loan and must be repaid to the U.S. government by the repatriates. The applicant must sign a repayment agreement at the time of arrival. This agreement serves as the application for repatriation assistance. There is no other formal application. Assistance furnished by county agencies through the Repatriation Program is limited to 90 days from the date of arrival in the United States


After the U.S. Department of State has certified that a citizen or a dependent of a citizen is eligible for the Repatriation Program, the State Department or its contractor will contact the Resettlement Program Office of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to arrange for their return. During this period DHS works in conjunction with the county contact person for the arrival and placement of the repatriate(s). Arrangements include:

Verifying their previous residence in Minnesota.

Contacting relatives of the repatriate.

Understanding their general physical condition and needs.

Tentative travel schedules and details regarding airport reception.


For the 1st 30 days, there is a 1-time payment of up to $560 per person, depending on need. For the subsequent 60 days, the assistance provided would be based on the need standard used for MFIP. Funds are provided for no more than 30 days at a time (for example, 1 payment each month for up to 3 months). The final assistance payment must be prorated for a period of less than 30 days to ensure that the assistance does not exceed the 90-day limit. Assistance is not provided retroactively.

Advise the repatriates of their potential eligibility and their right to apply for cash or medical assistance programs or for food support at the time they arrive and when they apply for the Repatriation Program. If they are eligible for MFIP or other cash assistance (for example, SSI, GA, VA), they should be approved for those benefits whenever possible. Repatriation assistance may be used to cover expenses before they receive their 1st benefit payment.

Repatriation assistance is NOT considered income for cash and food support programs.


Each county must designate a contact person who is responsible for coordinating assistance to repatriates and acting as liaison between the county, the Department of Human Services, and federal agencies. The name of the county contact person must be provided to the Department of Human Services. The contact person may be required to provide services after normal work hours.


County agencies are to use county funds to provide assistance through the Repatriation Program. Assistance provided by the county through the Repatriation Program is 100% reimbursable by the federal government for direct assistance and administrative costs. Counties must complete Form SSA-3935 (Expenditure Statement and Claim for Reimbursement) and provide documentation of all costs when requesting federal reimbursement.

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