Sept. 3, 2021. The first data is out: $250 million has already been issued to immigrants who lost work during the pandemic but were excluded from federal aid, and another $600 million is “undergoing final verification.” After just the first month, 50,000 people have already been found eligible, funds have been dispersed to over 10,000, and another 40,000 are in the final stages of the verification process.

Equally impressive: 99 percent of those who have received the funds are approved for $15,600, the higher of two benefit levels. This is designed to be roughly equivalent to what other workers got in unemployment insurance: real support that can help sustain a family through a crisis.

One aspect of the program that the press release doesn’t stress: this aid to families is also a boost to local businesses. When families spend the money on groceries it helps the grocery store owners, when they spend on child care it helps keep the child care providers afloat.

A Fiscal Policy Institute analysis of the numbers in the press release shows that the boost of this first $250 million to the New York City economy is about $175 million, to Long Island about $20 million, to Westchester $10 million, to Erie County about $2.5 million, and to Monroe County about $2.5 million.

And, when the additional $600 million goes out, bringing the total at that point to $850 million, New York City will see about $600 million, Long Island $70 million, Westchester $35 million, and Erie and Monroe Counties $9 million each, assuming the percentage going to each region is the same as it is in today’s data.

The final local economic boost should be more than double these second numbers, since they represent just $850 million of a total $2.1 billion allocated to the Excluded Worker Fund.

By David Dyssegaard Kallick, Director of the Immigration Research Initiative at the Fiscal Policy Institute.