New Limitation Makes Excluded Workers Fund “Nearly Impossible” To Access

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Immigration advocates, immigrants, and elected officials gathered in front of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office in the City to rally against the regulations for the Excluded Workers Fund (EWF).

The EWF, which could give workers previously excluded from state and federal benefits up to $15,600 before taxes, requires individuals to have lost at least 50% per week of their income due to COVID to qualify.

“The fact that there are now additional barriers that make it nearly impossible to access the fund is a disgrace to what we were trying to accomplish. I am furious and we have to fight these new regulations because they will create tremendous barriers. Many people will be deemed ineligible because they can’t prove all the layers that they need to prove to show that they lost income,” Jessica González-Rojas (AD-34) told Documented.

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The regulation were released a week before the EWF applications went live on August 1st. Individuals can apply directly, in the language of their choice, using this link.

However, before to these new requirements, immigrants in New York already faced adversity when a lack of consular appointments impeded many from renewing their passports (one of the documents used for proof of identity for those who do not have IDNYC or a NYS driver’s license), and ITIN delays have kept new applicants from filing their taxes – a requirement that could be crucial to apply, as it is one of the documents required to demonstrate the income of a community that was hardest hit by the pandemic.

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