Congressional Hispanic Caucus Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act“CARES Act”

Click here for the Spanish Version of this article!

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, otherwise known as the “CARES Act,” provides critical unemployment assistance, small business relief, and funding for health care that will benefit Latino families and businesses. However, many essential benefits will not be available to millions of immigrants and their families, including mixed-status families with U.S. citizen children.

Financial Assistance and Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits

  • Direct cash assistance of $1,200 per person earning up to $75,000 and $150,000 if married; an additional $500 cash payment available per child.

  • $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits starting the week of March 29 and ending July 31st.

  • An additional 13 weeks of federally funded unemployment insurance benefits.

  • Allows part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers to access UI benefits.

*Ineligibility for Cash Assistance/Recovery Rebate: A Social Security Number (SSN) is the main criteria for determining eligibility for the recovery rebate. Individuals who use Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN) are excluded from the direct cash assistance. Meaning, mixed-status families are not eligible for the rebate as the statute requires both parents to have a SSN, unless one is in the military. DACA and TPS recipients are eligible for SSNs, so if they have a SSN they should receive a recovery rebate. Undocumented people are excluded because they do not have SSNs and so are people who have certain nonimmigrant/temporary visas, including tourist visas, student visas, and consular visas. Physical presence in the U.S. is also considered for eligibility as “non-resident aliens” are ineligible. Some non-immigrants like H1-B and L workers do qualify, if they live here for more than 6 months per year.

*Ineligibility for Unemployment Insurance: Immigrants who are lawfully present and work authorized are eligible for Unemployment Compensation (UC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA –which is the new/expanded eligibility for self-employed individuals, et al – follows the same rules as UC normally regarding citizenship, which are that you have to have been working lawfully in the job you were laid off from and legally allowed to work during the time you are getting UC benefits. Noncitizens who lack work authorizations or who were not “authorized” to work while they were working are ineligible.