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Relief fund opens for immigrants who miss work from COVID-19

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 21, 2020

OLYMPIA – Washington’s COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund began taking applications Wednesday for requests from some workers who don’t qualify for other federal stimulus programs.

Using $40 million in federal funds sent to the state, the relief fund will make payments of $1,000 per worker, up to $3,000 per household, available to those who miss work because of COVID-19 but are not able to receive other federal aid because of their immigration status.

“Immigrant workers are critical to communities throughout the state and are the backbone of our economy,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a news release announcing the fund, set up with the help of a coalition of immigrant rights and social service organizations.

“As Americans, we know that no one should be left behind during a disaster; as Washingtonians, we are ensuring that our deserving communities have access to the COVID-19 relief tools to keep their families and neighbors healthy,” said Monserrat Padilla, director of the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network.

The Legal Foundation of Washington will help the state Department of Social and Health Services administer the fund. The state also has a Food Production Paid Leave Program, in place through Nov. 18, to provide leave to workers in that industry who work for companies exempt from other coronavirus relief laws.

The COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund will be taking applications through Dec. 6 at immigrantreliefwa.org. Benefits will be disbursed by Dec. 28.

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