December 28, 2021
To: All New York State Regulated Banks and Credit Unions
From: New York State Department of Financial Services
Re: New York State Department of Labor to Implement Change to the Excluded Workers Fund Prepaid Cards
Please see the letter below from Roberta Reardon, Commissioner – New York State Department of Labor (DOL) regarding a change being implemented by the DOL to the Excluded Workers Fund prepaid cards.
We are advising your institution of this change because it may result in increased traffic at your institution’s teller windows and desks. You should note that under the rules of the DOL program, withdrawals are limited to 1 transaction up to $500 per 24-hour period and subject to your financial institution’s minimum balance requirements, applicable fees, and daily cash withdrawal limits.
A sample specimen of the front and back of the card is attached for your reference to assist bank and credit union tellers to recognize the card and to direct cardholders to the customer service number on the reverse of the card with specific questions.
Kathy Hochul, Governor
Roberta Reardon, Commissioner
December 24, 2021
New York State Department of Financial Services
1 State Street
New York, NY 10004-1511
Dear Superintendent Harris,
The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) is writing to inform you of a change being implemented to the Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) prepaid cards. Effective December 28, 2021, DOL and Blackhawk will suspend the option to withdraw cash from ATMs for cardholders with a remaining balance on their cards.
On April 19, 2021, the New York State Legislature and Governor signed the EWF into law. The $2.1 billion fund is the first such large-scale program of its kind in the country. The fund, which went live to the public on August 1, 2021, is administered by DOL and was intended to bring COVID relief to New Yorkers who suffered income loss during the pandemic. To date, DOL has paid more than $2 billion in benefits and approved more than 120,000 applications. EWF Applicants could qualify for up to $15,600 in benefits depending on the information and documents provided during the application process. Approved applicants received the benefit as a one-time payment on a Visa prepaid card administered by Blackhawk.
We have informed card holders that effective December 28, 2021, they will have the option to make free withdrawals in person, subject to card limits and branch limits, at banks and credit unions that accept Visa debit cards. We have also provided the cardholders with a list of banks they can visit in New York State. As such, banks and credit unions may see increased traffic from beneficiaries seeking to withdraw funds.
Cardholders will still be able to use their existing cards to make in-store and online purchases where Visa debit is accepted. The only change is cardholders’ ability to withdraw cash from an ATM; all other terms and conditions contained in the cardholder agreement remain unchanged.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Roberta Reardon, Commissioner
New York State Department of Labor