More than 1,900 New Yorkers are set to receive benefits as part of the final round of payments from the state’s historic Excluded Workers Fund (EWF). Nearly $30 million will be sent before the end of the year. In total, more than 130,000 EWF applications have been approved and, minus administrative costs, the entirety of the $2.1 billion fund will soon be distributed to eligible New Yorkers.
“The Excluded Workers Fund has provided critical relief to low-wage workers who performed vital services to keep New York running throughout the pandemic,” New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. “As we send this final round of payments, I’d like to applaud the advocates, community organizations, and legislators who made this historic fund a reality. It exemplifies the values of New York State and our ability to look out for our neighbors during the most difficult of times.”
The EWF provided financial help to New Yorkers who lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic and were left out of various federal relief programs, including unemployment and pandemic benefits.
The program went live in August 2021 and, within the first month, more than 90,000 applications were received by the DOL. To qualify for EWF benefits, applicants needed to verify both their identity and residence. Benefits under the fund were tiered, with approved applicants receiving one of two amounts based upon the proof of work eligibility they provided. Tier 1 qualifiers received $15,600 and Tier 2 qualifiers received $3,200. More than 99 percent of approved applicants received the maximum funding amount of $15,600. Approved applicants will receive a one-time payment on a prepaid card.
More information about the first-of-its-kind program, including testimonials from recipients, is available in the DOL’s EWF white paper.