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Excluded Workers Fund: How Undocumented Immigrants Can Apply

UPDATE: As of October 8th, 2021, the Department of Labor is no longer accepting new or un-submitted applications for the Excluded Workers Fund. For more information visit this link.

What is the Excluded Workers Fund?

Back in March, New Yorkers went on hunger strike for more than 20 days to push state leaders to create the Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) for undocumented immigrants. They were successful.

The EWF was passed on April 8th as a historic $2.1 billion fund provides 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. 

Those who qualify could receive a one time payment of upto $15, 600 (before taxes), so long as they can submit the required documentation needed.

Who is eligible for the Excluded Workers Fund?

To be eligible to receive benefits from the EWF program, applicants must show they:

  1. Lived in New York State before March 27, 2020, and continue to live in New York State;
  2. Are not eligible for and did not receive unemployment insurance or any other COVID-19 income relief or other specified benefits from the state or federal government;
  3. Earned less than $26,208 in the 12 months prior to April 2021; and
  4. Lost at least 50% of weekly work-related earnings or household income at any point in time between February 23, 2020 and April 1, 2021 due to total or partial unemployment, or inability or unavailability to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic or, became responsible for a majority of their household income due to death or disability of the head of household.

Note: You can qualify for both the Excluded Workers Fund and the state’s rent relief program.

How much money can you get under the Excluded Workers Fund?

There are two tiers to the program that pay out different amounts.

If you can:

  • Prove your New York residency and
  • Show you filed your taxes for the 2018, 2019 or 2020 tax year or prove lost income caused by the pandemic

You will be able to receive up to $15,600 (minus $780 for taxes). That comes to nearly $300 a week for the last year.

If you don’t have tax returns and paperwork showing loss of income, you might still be eligible for up to $3,200 (minus $160 removed for taxes).

Also read: Does the State Budget Rise to the Moment?

Here’s the documents you need to qualify for the Excluded Workers Fund

To see the full list of accepted documents for proof of identity and residency, please visit: EWF

Also read: COVID-19 is Driving Homelessness for Undocumented Immigrants in New York

Step 3: Proof of Work Eligibility

To qualify for the Tier 1 amount of $15,600 (minus taxes), applicants need to establish a minimum of 5 points. 

To qualify for the Tier 2 amount of $3,200 (minus taxes), applicants need to establish a minimum of 3 points.

See the full list of accepted documents here: How Do I Prove My Work Eligibility?

Note: there is a chance the Department of Labor will email or message you requesting additional information the days following your applications, please keep an eye out for any emails. They will be sent to your phone or email you put in the application.

Excluded Workers Fund FAQ:

When can you get the money?

According to the DOL, it will take approximately six to eight weeks, from the date of application, to process the application. If an application is incomplete, or the files submitted are not visible, it will take longer. 

Applicants will receive a one-time payment on a Visa® prepaid card mailed to the address provided in their application.

Before you apply
  • Make sure all of your documents that will be used as proof are  in .jpeg, .pdf, or .png format
  • Have the front and the back of your ID’s (all) ready
  • Make sure the rotation is correct, and the full document is visible

Also read: Guide of Resources for Immigrants

Is my information protected from ICE?

Documents submitted to the DOL as part of the EWF application, including those from employers, are not public records and will be used for the sole purpose of EWF benefits administration. Disclosure of such to any other government agencies, including U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), is strictly prohibited by law for any purpose other than processing the application, unless expressly authorized by the individual applicant or legally required to do so pursuant to a lawful court order or judicial warrant.

Need help applying?

There are more than 60 community-based organizations in NY that can help you, free of charge, apply. You can get assistance here. The link will take you to the EWF directory, where you can search the closest organization to you by location, and also by language of preference.

This article about what to do after a year of unemployment benefits is part of a collaboration between Documented and The City. We will be joining forces to keep our audiences up to date on the latest regarding rent, as it’s an important subject to immigrant communities. Sign up here to get updates sent via email or text from The City.

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