Success of the Program and Swift Administration of Benefits Has Already Distributed $1.2 Billion in Funds
New York State Department of Labor will Stop Accepting New Applications at 7:30pm Tonight
Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that New York State’s first-in-the-nation Excluded Workers Fund is close to being exhausted. To date, the New York State Department of Labor has paid out $1.2 billion in benefits from the fund and nearly 120,000 applications have been approved. Over $2 billion will be paid by the end of October.
“We must ensure that immigrant communities are supported in our recovery, and I made a commitment from my first day in office to get relief to New Yorkers in need as quickly as possible,” Governor Hochul said. “With leadership from the State legislature, and in close partnership with communities, this program has already delivered more than $1 billion to tens of thousands of New York families, and the more than $2 billion authorized by the legislature will have been awarded in the three months since the program launched. I thank all of the essential and excluded workers who bravely stepped up during the pandemic, and it remains a top priority to deliver a recovery for all New Yorkers, including our immigrant communities.”
Given the tremendous response to the Excluded Workers Fund, combined with a notably efficient review and payment process benefitting thousands of eligible New Yorkers statewide, the fund is nearing exhaustion, and the NYS DOL will no longer be accepting new applications effective 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 8.
The NYS DOL will continue processing applications in the order they were received until the fund is exhausted. However, they cannot guarantee that funds will be available for any claims submitted after September 24, 2021. Those who already applied can still access their accounts to view their application status or respond to requests for additional documents.
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “This historic fund has benefited tens of thousands of New Yorkers. I want to thank the advocates and all of our community-based organizations for their partnership in making sure this lifeline went to those individuals who were left out of the federal and state benefits. We could not have stood up this program as quickly as we did, or reach the amount of individuals that we did, without their continued support.”
The NYS DOL awarded more than $15 million in grant funds to 75 not-for-profit community-based organizations (CBOs) across the state to provide direct application assistance, education, and training. A coalition of CBOs played a critical role in shaping the program regulations and making sure that eligible New Yorkers were able to access the fund.
More than 99 percent of approved applicants were determined eligible to receive the maximum funding amount of $15,600 and, in total, $1.2 billion has already been distributed. This data and additional information can be found on the EWF Dashboard.
“I want to extend my gratitude to the FEW Coalition, all the community organizations who assisted in spreading the word and filing applications, and every government staffer who worked tirelessly to help our communities access the relief they deserve, and to Governor Hochul, who made quick distribution a priority of her new Administration,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos. “With 99% of approved applications qualifying for Tier 1 benefits, it is clear Unemployment Insurance excludes hundreds of thousands of taxpayers unfairly, and too many workers, particularly upstate, were unable to participate. We need supplemental funding to continue serving working families on their way to economic recovery.”
“The Fund for Excluded workers was born out of the pain and suffering we witnessed in our communities at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen just how urgent the need for financial relief has been for workers often excluded from government services. I am proud to have worked with Legislative leaders, advocates, and Governor Hochul to deliver this lifeline to workers and look forward to expanding relief to traditionally marginalized communities,” said Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa
Bianca Guerrero of the Fund Excluded Worker Coalition said, “The Fund Excluded Workers coalition commends the Hochul Administration and Department of Labor for expeditiously distributing the existing $2.1 billion from the Excluded Workers Fund, which has helped New Yorkers buy medicine, groceries, and other necessities for their families, and restock supplies for their businesses. While this historic fund has had a tremendous impact, it is important to note that there are geographic and policy questions that must be addressed going forward. Our coalition is committed to fighting for additional funding, and we look forward to working with the Governor and State Legislature to ensure full, equitable access for excluded workers across the state.”
For the latest updates on the fund visit: https://dol.ny.gov/EWF.