Stimulus check poses a host of complications for CT’s working poor

Back • Publication Date: March 31, 2020 •

While thousands of Connecticut household can expect to receive a big federal stimulus check in just a few weeks, some of its poorest will wait longer, get short-changed — or get nothing at all.

Advocates for the poor say the public and private sectors here must be ready to catch those who might fall through the cracks.

“This emergency has revealed the divide that goes beyond the haves and the have-nots,” said Steven Hernandez, executive director of the state Commission on Women, Children, Seniors and Equitable Access for All. “There are too many people working behind the scenes contributing to the wealth and prosperity of this state. If we can’t serve them in peacetime, we certainly can’t help them when we’re battling a pandemic.”

According to Pew Charitable Trusts, roughly 120,000 undocumented immigrants, who lack a Social Security Number — and therefore the ability to receive any stimulus check — live in Connecticut.

And Hernandez said many of them are working, contributing to the economy and to their households. For this group, advocates say, help will have to come from the state or not at all.

That may involve shoring up a private, nonprofit safety net that was already feeling the strain before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, said Emily Byrne, executive director of Connecticut Voices for Children, a New Haven-based public policy group.

“Nonprofits can play a critical role in supporting Connecticut residents without their having to fear being ‘outed,’” Byrne said. “Access to nonprofits allows residents to seek services privately, rather than in the public eye. … However, the nonprofit ecosystem was fragile before the COVID-19 crisis and is now dangerously close to collapsing.”

While undocumented immigrants may be hit the hardest, they aren’t the only group at risk….

Authors: Keith M. Phaneuf •  Source: Connecticut Mirror • View