This story was originally published on APR 8, 2021 by THE CITY
Some 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers are now eligible for help under the historic Excluded Workers Fund established in the state budget. But there are still some more hurdles to get the cash. Here’s a breakdown.
You may have heard about the New Yorkers who went on hunger strike for more than 20 days to push state leaders to create a relief fund for undocumented workers.
Well, they won.
This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers in Albany reached an agreement on a historic deal that will offer much-needed aid to nearly 300,000 New Yorkers who have been cut out of government unemployment benefits and stimulus checks during the pandemic.
The $2.1 billion Excluded Workers Fund will provide relief similar to unemployment benefit payments to undocumented immigrants and other workers with nontraditional jobs that kept them from receiving government help for the past year.
This is by far the largest program of its kind in the country and has the potential to be a lifeline to some of the New Yorkers hit hardest by COVID. (At one point, experts estimated that more than half of the city’s immigrants were unemployed.)
There are still some more barriers, though, before the cash can get to the workers who need it.
Here’s what you need to know about the fund and how to access it.
Who is eligible?
To get payments from the Excluded Workers Fund:
- You must be a current resident of New York and have lived here before March 27, 2020. (More on the documents you’ll need further down.)
- You must have lost part or all of your income after February 2020 because of COVID-19. That includes losing your job, losing hours or becoming unable to work because of the virus. You’re also eligible if the person who was the breadwinner for your family died or became disabled due to COVID.
- You must not have been eligible for other unemployment benefits or any federal COVID-related income relief.
- You must have personally earned less than $26,208 total in the past year.