You are reading

Many Undocumented Workers May Struggle to Tap Into Excluded Workers Fund

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, State Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa rallied outside an IRS office building in LeFrak City Friday (Sen. Jessica Ramos via Twitter)

May 3, 2021 By Allie Griffin

A number of undocumented workers who were unemployed during the pandemic face obstacles in tapping into a $2.1 billion state fund that was recently established to help them.

Many lack a tax identification number that is issued by the IRS — which is one way they can prove eligibility for the fund. The IRS, however, has been slow to issue such IDs due to a backlog in their system, according to area officials.

Several New York legislators are concerned that the backlog will hurt undocumented workers and are calling on the IRS to speed up the process.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, State Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa rallied outside an IRS office building in LeFrak City Friday to demand the agency clear the backlog so immigrants can take advantage of the state’s Excluded Workers Fund that is about to be launched.

The $2.1 billion fund will provide payments of up to $15,600 to undocumented New Yorkers who lost their jobs during the pandemic and didn’t qualify for federal aid. Undocumented immigrants have been ineligible to receive financial support from federal relief programs — like unemployment insurance and stimulus checks — due to their immigration status.

An estimated 290,000 undocumented workers across the state are expected to benefit from this relief, including 213,000 individuals in New York City alone.

There are 58,000 Queens residents who will be eligible to receive funds once applications for the program open, according to Fiscal Policy Institute.

The fund requires applicants to prove they’ve paid taxes in at least one of the last three reporting years. One way applicants can prove this is with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which the IRS provides to undocumented immigrants and others who don’t have a social security number to file taxes.

The legislators said there is a nationwide backlog of 74,000 applicants — including an estimated 4,000 in New York — for an ITIN at the IRS.

Schumer, Ramos and De La Rosa also penned a letter to IRS Commissioner, Charles Rettig, to demand the agency expedite the processing of the applications so that such New Yorkers can get financial relief as soon as possible.

“In order to ensure that the maximum amount of workers can benefit from the Excluded Workers Fund, it is imperative that the IRS prioritize its resources to work expeditiously through this ITIN application backlog,” they wrote.

The ITIN applications are currently taking upwards of 17 weeks to process, according to the National Immigration Law Center.

The lawmakers are demanding that the IRS expand the number of its Taxpayer Assistance Centers—which assist workers with the ITIN application—in the city and increase the working hours of the centers.

They also requested the IRS dedicate more staff and resources to tackling the backlog.

“We passed historic relief in New York for these excluded workers,” Ramos said at the rally. “Now we need to make sure they can access these programs by expediting the ITIN process.”

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Cyclist sought for endangering the welfare of a child in Richmond Hill: NYPD

Police from the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill are looking for a cyclist who rode up alongside a 9-year-old girl and tried to engage her in conversation at around 8 a.m. on Thursday, June 13.

The encounter occurred in the vicinity of Jamaica Avenue and 104th Street while the youngster was walking to school. When the man asked the girl to join him on his bike, the girl sensed danger and took off, running to her school where she alerted authorities of the incident.

Ex-building inspector pleads guilty to official misconduct for accepting bribes from southeast Queens homeowners: DA

A College Point man pleaded guilty on Monday to taking bribes while working as an inspector for the city Department of Buildings (DOB) in exchange for not issuing violations from January 2023 through January 2024.

The city’s Department of Investigations conducted a probe after receiving allegations about Zabihullah Ibrahimi from homeowners and the DOB. The office of Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz prosecuted the case.

Richmond Hill man gets 4-12 years in prison for DWI collision that killed a city worker last year: DA

A Richmond Hill man was sentenced in Queens Supreme Court on Thursday to 4-12 years in prison for a drunken collision that killed a 36-year-old city worker during an early morning crash nearly a year ago.

Errick Persaud, 25, of 104th Street pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the second degree before Justice Michael Aloise on May 8. According to the charges, at approximately 2:30 a.m. on July 6, 2023, video surveillance footage showed Persaud behind the wheel of a black Mercedes-Benz speeding through a steady red light at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill.

Rapper Remy Ma’s son arrested with Queens Village man for 2021 murder of Astoria drug kingpin: NYPD

The son of hip-hop star Remy Ma was arrested Tuesday along with a Queens Village man for the murder of a reputed drug kingpin from Astoria just over three years ago.

The rapper’s 23-year-old son, Jayson Scott, of Tier Street on City Island in the Bronx, and Richard Swygert, 22, of Springfield Boulevard, were booked at the 113th Precinct in Jamaica on first-degree murder and related charges in the 2021 fatal shooting of 47-year-old Darius Guillebeaux on the afternoon of June 7, 2021.

Queens DSNY worker busted for allegedly filling his pool with water from a fire hydrant: NYPD

A Southeast Queens off-duty NYC Sanitation worker was arrested on Tuesday morning and booked at the 113th Precinct in Jamaica, where he was charged with theft of city services, according to the NYPD.

Rodolfo Jiminez, 41, was taken into custody just before 10:30 a.m. after he allegedly opened a fire hydrant on his street and then used a garden hose to run water to fill his backyard pool, police said, after a neighbor tipped off the cops.

Rep. Grace Meng delivers major funding boost to local preschool in Jamaica

Jun. 20, 2024 By Athena Dawson

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-6) presented a check for $850,000 in federal funding to a local preschool in Jamaica on Tuesday, June 18. Meng was joined by parents, local government leaders, teachers, school board members and students at Queens Centers for Progress’ Apple Preschool for an early morning celebration. Apple Preschool provides specialized services to children with developmental disabilities to give them a positive learning environment and school experience.