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DENVER, Jan. 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- aidkit today announced that Colorado's Office of New Americans (ONA) has appointed it as the third-party administrator for the Benefit Recovery Fund, a wage-replacement program that serves Coloradans regardless of immigration status. It is the first program of its kind anywhere in the United States.
AidKit and its nonprofit partner, Impact Charitable, will work with the Office of New Americans (ONA) to conduct community outreach, build and host online applications, determine eligibility and distribute funds quickly and securely.
In Colorado, workers without employment authorization fuel the tourism and hospitality industries, staff construction trades, provide in-home care to seniors and fill critical positions in early childhood education.
The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy and the Colorado Fiscal Institute estimate that over the past 10 years, Colorado employers have paid nearly $188 million in unemployment insurance premiums on behalf of Colorado workers without work authorization. Yet these workers are ineligible for unemployment assistance when they lose their jobs through no fault of their own.
Earlier this year, Colorado established the Benefit Recovery Fund to remedy this inequity. It allocates some of the dollars already paid on undocumented workers' behalf to create a new unemployment assistance program separate from the state UI fund. The Benefit Recovery Fund will provide direct cash payments to eligible, recently unemployed Coloradans to help them pay for food, shelter, healthcare, clothing and any other critical needs they and their families might have.
“Undocumented workers play such a critical role in our community and our economy. The pandemic made it clear that without a safety net in place, the whole community suffers,” said Dee Daniels Scriven, director of the Office of New Americans.“I look forward to working with AidKit to create an accessible, effective and dignified Fund - one that can serve Coloradans for generations to come and serve as a model for the rest of the country.”
AidKit will provide the Benefit Recovery Fund with a custom-tailored solution based on its proven technology platform, which is used to administer direct cash programs with a human-centered approach throughout the United States. AidKit has delivered direct cash aid to more than 65,000 individuals from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles.
AidKit's platform makes claims and payments quick, convenient and flexible while delivering industry-leading features for security and fraud detection. AidKit's payment system for the Benefit Recovery Fund will feature short, intuitive, secure mobile-first applications forms in multiple languages, robust support and application assistance and flexible payment options that include same-day bank transfers or reloadable debit cards for those without a bank account. AidKit is also more cost-effective than building a platform from scratch. The State of Colorado's initial feasibility study projected that the Benefit Recovery Fund would spend $55M on technology to build and administer BRF in its first year. But with AidKit the costs will be tens of millions of dollars less.
Denver-based AidKit has powered Colorado poverty-assistance programs since its inception. Its technology was created to help operate the Left Behind Workers Fund, a pandemic-era philanthropic initiative administered by Impact Charitable, that leveraged public and private contributions in partnership with 40+ Community Based Organizations across Colorado. It provided $38 million in emergency financial relief and rental assistance to undocumented Coloradans who lost income during the pandemic but weren't eligible for traditional unemployment or stimulus support. AidKit and Impact Charitable are teaming up once again to administer the Benefit Recovery Fund.
“We are privileged to have strong existing partnerships with an incredible network of community-based organizations who serve undocumented community members. We look forward to leveraging these relationships for the Benefit Recovery Fund as we work to build a more just and equitable workforce in Colorado,” says Jourdan McGinn, Director of Economic Mobility & Direct Cash Transfers, Impact Charitable.
“In the midst of an emerging pandemic, the Left Behind Workers Fund needed to be deployed quickly and grow fast. To do this, we replaced a mish-mash of spreadsheets, bank portals and manual labor with one unified, highly efficient platform optimized for direct payments. That was the genesis of AidKit. Now, with the administration of the Benefits Recovery Fund, we are pleased to play a role in creating a more equitable Colorado. We hope this work will also advance equity for the undocumented workforce across the United States,” said Mark Newhouse, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, AidKit.
Applications for the Benefit Recovery Fund are expected to open in early Summer 2023. For more information, contact Arif Hesarnie, Benefit Recovery Fund Manager, by email at .
AidKit is an advanced technology platform for delivering cash assistance and guaranteed income to those who need it most. It works with nonprofits and government organizations to serve diverse populations including the unhoused, the undocumented and the unbanked. Applicants can register for aid on their mobile devices and receive payments via bank transfer, debit card or virtual card. AidKit balances convenience with security, protecting against fraud while ensuring the highest degree of data protection. AidKit powers some of the nation's largest direct cash and guaranteed income pilots with tools that reduce administrative burden, increase impact and protect participants' personal information.
About Impact Charitable
Impact Charitable is an impact capital intermediary specializing in direct cash programs and impact-first investing. We unite catalytic philanthropists with community partners, financial institutions, foundations, social enterprises and governmental bodies to turn big ideas into action and impact. Impact Charitable uses our unique place in the market to pilot new ideas, build on existing successes and collaborate with partners who are motivated to create lasting impact for people and communities. To date, Impact Charitable has distributed over $39 million in direct cash transfers.
About the Office of New Americans
The mission of the Office of New Americans (ONA), a specialty office within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE), is to facilitate the integration and inclusion of New Americans–immigrants and refugees–into Colorado's civic, social, and economic life. ONA's vision is that all New Americans have equitable access to opportunity and well-being. ONA accomplishes these things through coordinated collaboration across state agencies and with local partners and through the development and implementation of a statewide immigrant integration plan and through the implementation of programs, policies and processes that address the needs of Colorado's New American community.
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