The forgotten fourth element of Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) eligibility

Residency, unemployment ineligibility, and loss of work-related earnings or increased financial burden due to death or disability of primary breadwinner.

The Excluded Workers Fund was passed on April 8th after a tireless effort by community-based organizations that included a 23-day hunger strike. In July, the Department of Labor issued regulations for the fund’s implementation. The Department received more than 90,000 applications within the first month, more than half of which were approved by September third. 99% qualified for the tier 1 $15,600 payment.

The far-reaching impact of this historic legislation has uplifted thousands of New Yorkers ravaged by job loss during last year’s COVID-19-related economic shutdown. However, the law also covers a less-publicized segment: individuals who became responsible for a majority of their household expenses due to the death or disability of the primary breadwinner.

Notably, the Department of Labor’s regulations include an expansive definition of the term “disability,” which covers not only disabilities caused by COVID-19, but pregnancy-related disability as well as “mental and physical disability; permanent and temporary disability; and partial and total disability.” [12 NYCRR Part 704.2-c]

Unlike workers eligible under the 50% loss of work-related earnings category, people applying under the death or disability provision may submit only one application per household. Moreover, applicants must provide proof of disability or death for the household to qualify.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for the EWF, please send us a message on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or submit a contact form on our website.