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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Refugees Don’t Get $1,800 Per Month

Q: Does the U.S. pay $1,800 a month to refugees?

A: No. A false claim about Canada is being recycled in a bogus e-mail to “American taxpayers.”


Where can I verify this info?

It is interesting that the federal government provides a single refugee with a monthly allowance of $1,890.00 and each can also get an additional $580.00 in social assistance for a total of $2,470.00.

This compares very well to a single pensioner who after contributing to the growth and development of America for 40 to 50 years can only receive a monthly maximum of $1,012.00 in old age pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Maybe our pensioners should apply as refugees!

Lets send this to all Americans, so we can all be ticked off and maybe we can get the refugees cut back to $1,012.00 and the pensioners up to $2,470 00 and enjoy some of the money we were forced to submit to the Government over the last 40 or 50 years.

Please forward to every American to expose what our elected politicians have been doing over the past 11 years – to the over-taxed American.


American Government Seniors Policy



We wish more people took the trouble to check out these false tirades before sending them on to others. (We’re glad you send them to us, though, so we can drive a stake through them.) This one started in 2004 when an irate Canadian mis-read a story in the Toronto Star and sent off an error-filled e-mail to the newspaper, with copies to 100 friends. The Toronto Star‘s ombudsman explained how the Canadian version of this “urban myth” got started in an article that was published Nov. 27, 2004. The original e-mail said, “Let’s send this to all Canadians so we can all be p—– off.”

The false claim circulated widely enough in Canada that the government posted a response, giving the facts and explaining that Canadian pensioners get higher benefits than the allowances given to refugees who settle there. The e-mail was still circulating in Canada as recently as February 2005, when the magazine of Canada’s Association for the 50 Plus ran an article debunking it.

Somewhere along the way a malicious prankster copied the false claim almost verbatim and made it apply to the U.S., saying, “Let’s send this to all Americans, so we all can be ticked off.” That’s the version one of our subscribers forwarded to us recently. The claim is even less true about the U.S. than it was about Canada, however. For example, it claims that American pensioners get a “monthly maximum of $1,012.00 in old age pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement.” In the U.S., of course, the government old age pension program is Social Security; the Guaranteed Income Supplement is Canada’s program. More to the point, the maximum Social Security benefit to a worker retiring at full retirement age is $2,116 per month (scheduled to increase to $2,185 per month in 2008).

Aid to needy refugees in the U.S. is much less and is generally limited to eight months. Unlike Canada, the U.S. government doesn’t pay aid directly, but instead gives grants to states for refugee resettlement. In California, for example, the maximum cash payment to a single refugee is $359 per month, according to the state Refugee Programs Bureau. Refugee families with children can qualify for welfare under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and maximum levels vary widely by state. In California, one of the more generous states, the maximum for a family of three is currently $723 per month.


Sellar, Don. “Can we dispel this urban myth?” Toronto Star, 27 Nov. 2004.Roseman, Ellen. “The government and your money.” 50Plus Magazine, Feb. 2005.

Just the Facts: Financial Assistance for Refugees.” Citizenship and Immigration Canada, modified 22 Nov. 2006.

Walters, Meridith; Gene Falk and Vee Burke, “TANF Cash Benefits as of January 1, 2004.” Congressional Research Service, 12 Sept. 2005.

State of California, Department of Social Services. All County Letter No. 07-34E, 17 Oct. 2007.