*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Application Window Open: Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Apply for COVID-19 Relief in California

The COVID-19 outbreak is a serious public health and economic crisis. Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants—who have been disproportionately affected by government shutdowns—have been largely left out of federal financial support programs. Last month, the state of California created a first of its kind fund to help support undocumented immigrants

The fund is now valued at $125 million—with $75 million coming directly from the state of California and an additional $50 million coming from its private partners. As of May 18th, the application window is now officially open. Undocumented immigrants can now apply for COVID-19 relief funds from the state of California. 

The Funds: $500 for Individuals, $1,000 for Some Households

Under the California COVID-19 relief plan for undocumented immigrants, qualifying individuals will be eligible for $500 and some qualifying households will be eligible for up to $1,000. 

Four Requirements to Qualify for a COVID-19 Relief Payment

Not all undocumented immigrants are eligible for payments through the California state program. As important as it is, the program still only offers modest support. Instead, a person must have suffered some form of adverse impact from the virus or the resulting government shutdowns. Here are the four requirement to qualify for a COVID-19 relief payment through the California state fund: 

  1. You must be at least 18 years old; 
  2. You must be an undocumented immigrant;
  3. You must not be eligible for a stimulus payment or enhanced unemployment benefits under the federal CARES Act; and
  4. You must have experienced financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus. 

Funds Will Be Administered Through Nonprofit Groups

For a number of technical and legal reasons, California has decided to administer and distribute funds through nonprofit organizations. In total, 12 different nonprofits across the state are handling the applications. As noted by the LA County Office of Immigrant Affairs, the following three nonprofit groups have been selected to administer the program in our region: 

  1. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles;
  2. CARECEN (Central American Resource Center); and
  3. CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrants Rights). 

Applications Will Be Accepted Until June 30th—but on a First Come, First Serve Basis

The California COVID-19 relief fund will accept applications from May 18th through June 30th. However, the funds will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. As was mentioned, the total value of the fund is currently pledged at $125 million. If the fund runs out of money—which some experts believe will happen—it is not clear that more will be added by state legislators or private philanthropists. Eligible undocumented immigrants are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible.  

Call Our Los Angeles, CA Immigration Lawyers for Assistance

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are committed to protecting the rights and interests of our clients. If you have questions about immigration law, our legal team can help. For a completely confidential review of your case, please call us now. With an office in Los Angeles, we represent communities throughout Southern California, including in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, and Orange County.

Josh Goldstein
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