Applications open for $500 payments to help domestic workers, undocumented immigrants in Chicago

Domestic workers and residents who have undocumented immigration status could be eligible to receive a one-time $500 payment from Chicago as part of the city’s coronavirus pandemic relief efforts.

The city’s Department of Family and Support Services is accepting applications for the Chicago Resiliency Fund 2.0, which will provide an estimated 17,000 residents who identify as domestic workers and undocumented immigrants with the one-time $500 payment, according to a news release.

The payments are part of the federal funds the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act aimed at helping residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

To be eligible, residents must be 18 years or older, live in Chicago and have a total household income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. For a single person, that means having an income of up to $43,740. A family of three must have an income of no more than $74,580.

Participants of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and immigrants who recently arrived within the past couple of months to seek asylum aren’t eligible for the funds, according to city officials.


The city is aiming to reach Chicago households who were shut out of the federal stimulus checks that were distributed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

"While the COVID stimulus payments were a great help for so many during the pandemic, many hardworking residents were left out of this critical resource," Brandie Knazze, the city’s commissioner for the Department of Family and Support Services, said in a prepared statement. "The Resiliency Fund 2.0 is designed to help those who had to navigate the pandemic without such resources."

Undocumented immigrants, including parents of U.S. citizen children, were left out of the stimulus checks. DACA recipients were eligible for the federal money.

Mixed-status households were initially excluded from receiving stimulus checks. During the second round of stimulus checks, the adult with legal status or who was a U.S. citizen was eligible to receive the money. However, the funds still excluded any undocumented family member, immigration advocates said at the time.

Local groups such as Chicago Desi Youth Rising and Increase the Peace took matters into their own hands and raised money to provide cash assistance to residents who weren’t eligible for the stimulus checks.

For the city’s program, the undocumented family member in a mixed-status household could now be eligible to receive the $500 payment, according to the city’s website.

Applications in Spanish and English can be filled out at Residents will be asked to submit documents related to verifying identity, proof of current Chicago residency and household income, according to the city’s website.

The city’s program defines a domestic worker as someone who has done work such as housekeeping, child care or caregiving for an average of eight hours per week in the last 12 months in a private home.

Those who are selected on a rolling basis will receive the payment directly in their bank account or through a prepaid debit card, according to the city. Officials expect the payments to go out through the rest of the year.

Residents who need help or have questions about the application are encouraged to call or text (312) 585-5773.

Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.