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DACA Recipients and Unemployment Benefits Due to Coronavirus | Chicago Immigration Attorney Mario Godoy

DACA Recipients and Unemployment Benefits Due to Coronavirus

City, County, State and National regulations to restrict the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have resulted in many businesses closing or reducing hours, and the subsequent loss of employment for many Illinois residents, including Illinois DACA recipients. The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program provides a temporary status that shields Dreamers from deportation and allows them to work for two years and is renewable, but does not provide a path to citizenship. The Trump administration moved to end the program on the grounds that it is illegal.

Under Illinois’ Department of Employment Security (IDES) requirements, a DACA recipient may be eligible for unemployment benefits because they are unemployed through no fault of their own IF

  • they had work authorization during the base period at issue 
  • they maintain work authorization during the time they are receiving benefits (as part of the IDES  “able to work” requirement)

Do Unemployment Benefits Count Against the Public Charge Rule? 

A DACA recipient who receives unemployment benefits in Illinois due to business closings under coronavirus mandates likely will not have those benefits count against the new public charge rules. Unemployment insurance benefits in Illinois are funded by tax dollars collected from Illinois employers. If you meet eligibility requirements, you are entitled to receive the benefits. Unemployment benefits are not based on need and are not charity or welfare.  

Godoy Law Office is an established immigration law firm in Chicago and Lombard with DACA attorneys who are ready to help you interpret the law as it applies in your case and apply for deferred action if you are eligible. Contact us online today to learn more. 


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