New Jersey residents who applied to the state’s excluded worker fund have another month to prove they are eligible for the one-time $2,000 cash payments.
The Department of Human Services on Thursday extended the deadline from the end of September to Oct. 31, giving 17,000 workers — nearly half of all those who applied to the fund earlier this year — more time to turn in any missing paperwork.
Gov. Phil Murphy created the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund to help people who weren’t eligible for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits during the pandemic, such as undocumented workers or recently incarcerated people. Earlier this month, officials said $41 million had already been distributed to 18,000 residents since the fund launched almost a year ago.
The state stopped taking applications in February, but has continued working with people who’d submitted applications by then, to confirm their eligibility. Immigrant groups had pushed the state to move back the deadline to ensure applicants had enough time to submit their documents and ask questions.
Applicants need to prove they live in the state, are 18 years or older, earned $55,000 or less a year, and were shut out of other COVID-19 related aid.
“The state promised us that every eligible applicant will receive their relief check, so it must ensure everyone is aware of the new deadline and has the opportunity to obtain an appointment and ask questions with adequate language access support,” Laura Bustamante and Rosanna Aran from the Excluded NJ Coalition previously told Gothamist in a statement.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services didn’t immediately clarify on Thursday what prompted the extension.