Denver (CO), Jan. 30
Colorado will soon activate a program to grant unemployment benefits to undocumented workers, becoming the first state in the country to offer such programs, reported the Office of New Americans (ONA) of the local government.
According to a statement released by the ONA over the weekend, the new program, called the Recovery Benefits Fund (BRF), will use public funds to “supply income for unemployed undocumented workers.”
The initiative is an expansion of the pilot program Fund of Benefits for Excluded Workers, started in 2022, which offered some 38 million dollars in financial aid for undocumented workers who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Unlike the previous project, the eligibility criteria will no longer be based on the pandemic and the distribution of funds will only be made by direct transfer to a bank account or through a reloadable debit card for the unbanked, and not with checks.
“Undocumented workers play a critical role in our community and our economy. The pandemic has made it clear that without a safety net, the entire community suffers,” Dee Daniels Scrivens, director of ONA, said in a statement.
The official (who previously worked for 12 years in the social integration of refugees in Colorado) indicated that ONA hired the company AidKit to provide the necessary technology for the new program. AidKit had already offered similar services for last year’s pilot program.
“I look forward to working with AidKit to create an accessible, effective, and dignified fund that can serve Coloradans for generations to come and serve as a model for the rest of the country,” Daniels said.
According to data from the Census Bureau (American Community Survey), it is estimated that some 160,000 undocumented immigrants reside in Colorado, compared to 220,000 immigrants in 2008. At the same time, some 87,000 of these undocumented immigrants would be working in Colorado, that is, between a 3% and 4% of the state labor force.
For its part, a report published in 2021 by The Bell Policy (a non-partisan organization based in Denver) affirms that these workers and their families contribute more than 1,000 million dollars annually to the state economy, not counting another 272 million dollars per year. year in state taxes.
In addition, Colorado employers have paid approximately $188 million in unemployment insurance premiums to their undocumented employees over the past 10 years, without those funds being used to benefit those workers, according to data from the Colorado Fiscal Institute ( nongovernmental).
Daniels Scrivens indicated that just under 10% of the amount of those unemployment insurance premiums, that is to say about 15 million dollars, “will be diverted to the new fund.”
No word yet on when applications will begin to be accepted.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.