Expanding Inclusion in the Social Safety Net: Impacts of New York’s Excluded Worker’s Fund

Elaine Waxman, Hamutal Bernstein, David Dyssegaard Kallick, Poonam Gupta, Paola Echave, Julio Salas, Luis Gallardo and Ashleigh-Ann Sutherland
Date of Publication: 
January, 2023
Source Organization: 
Urban Institute

Although the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are obvious, it may have resulted in significant improvements in the social safety net for excluded members of society. In this joint publication by the Urban Institute and the Immigration Research Initiative, the authors report on a survey they conducted to understand the successes and shortcomings of New York’s Excluded Worker Fund (EWF). The EWF gave unemployment benefits to 130,000 immigrants who lost their jobs during the pandemic, but because of a lack of lawful immigration status, were not eligible for unemployment benefits. The report found that these workers, who received an average of $15,600 in aid, were better able to make ends meet, cover housing costs, and advance in the job market. For instance, when asked to indicate how they used their funds, the most consistent replies were rent (87 percent) and food (38 percent). Workers who received these funds also reported higher civic engagement (60 percent reported engaging more with their community). On the other hand, those who didn’t receive EWF support reported more severe financial distress such as food insecurity (84 percent for nonrecipients). The authors conclude that the EWF was successful in meeting its goals, and they encourage policymakers in other parts of the country to adopt similar policies to strengthen the safety net for their workers. (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Waxman, E., Bernstein, H., Dyssegaard Kallick, D., Gupta, P., Echave, P., Salas, J., Gallardo, L. & Sutherland, A. (2023, January). Expanding Inclusion in the Social Safety Net: Impacts of New York’s Excluded Worker’s Fund. Urban Institute and Immigration Research Initiative. https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/2023-01/Expanding%20Inclusion%...