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Immigrant Relief Fund Applications Open In Washington This Week

Patch logo Patch 4/19/2021 Lucas Combos
a large stone building © Shutterstock/Nadia Borisevich

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington's COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund opens for applications Wednesday, April 21, created to provide one-time, direct payments for residents who are ineligible for unemployment benefits of federal stimulus funds. Applications must be submitted no later than May 15.

The funding comes from the federal CARES Act, and the program was authorized by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in February.

Eligible adults can receive up to $1,000 by check or on a prepaid debit card, and funds will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applicants who are approved can expect to see the funds by the end of June.

To qualify for the payments, applicants must meet each of the following requirements:

  • Live in Washington.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have been significantly affected by the pandemic (such as losing work, contracting the virus, or caring for a family member who contracted it).
  • You must not be eligible to receive federal stimulus funds or unemployment insurance. because of immigration status. Refugees, asylum seekers, COFA migrants, and DACA applicants are not eligible for the fund, since they can usually receive federal funds and unemployment benefits.
  • Your household must be low-income. This means that your household has an annual income that is below 250% of the federal poverty line. The maximum income to qualify for the fund depends on the size of your household.

Starting Wednesday, those who meet the criteria can apply online or call the state's hotline at 1-844-724-3737, between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Officials estimate the application process will take between 20 minutes and an hour to complete. It requires documentation that confirms applicants' identity and residency within Washington.

Answers to frequently asked questions are available online, along with complete information in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Swahili and Garifuna.

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