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Monthly $1,200 stimulus checks for undocumented workers could become permanent thanks to expanded Excluded Workers Fund

New York could make a pandemic-era stimulus program that sent $15,200 to thousands of individual undocumented workers in 2021 permanent.

Advocates and some lawmakers are calling for the Excluded Workers Fund to be made permanent. The fund was initially set at $2.1 billion, and provided stimulus payments of up to $15,000 to workers who are not traditional residents.

The designation came after many undocumented workers across the U.S. and New York were excluded from stimulus payments and unemployment benefits paid out during the pandemic.


The $2.1 billion set aside for the program quickly ran out. Now lawmakers and advocates are calling for that pot of money to be boosted in the next state budget.

“The Excluded Workers Fund has helped New Yorkers across the state get back on their feet after the hardest year we’ve ever been through. But it’s outrageous that we even needed this fund to begin with,” said Bianca Guerrero, a coordinator with the Fund Excluded Workers Coalition. She recently spoke about the possible expansion with Spectrum News. “When times get hard, workers should be able to get access to the safety net support they need to make it through – no matter their immigration status or the kind of work they do. That’s why, in the coming budget cycle, we’re calling on Governor Hochul and state lawmakers to permanently repair the holes in our safety net to make unemployment insurance accessible to those who need it most.”

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The latest proposal would mean qualifying undocumented workers would receive a flat payment that matches the state’s unemployment insurance rate. That would mean for jobless undocumented workers, a monthly stimulus check of $1,200.

“Just nine weeks after the Excluded Workers Fund opened applications this year, all the funding had been allocated. That should tell us how badly New Yorkers needed this program and how essential it was to the workers who keep this city running. We shouldn’t have to scramble to set another fund up the next time our state faces a crisis,” New York State Senator Jessica Ramos explained.

Estimates put the first-year cost of the program at $800 million.


RELATED: Excluded Workers Fund forced to stop accepting donations in October after running out of $2 billion



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