The Commercial Attaché at the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the United States, Fernando Blasi, reported that the interim Venezuelan government in that country is working on possible alternatives to attend to the Venezuelan community that is suffering the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blasi stated that the Venezuelan Embassy is aware that a number of Venezuelans would be facing difficulties, especially due to the effects of the pandemic, because immigration procedures were paralyzed when the American immigration service was furloughed.
“These families would face possible food insecurity. The diplomatic missions of the interim government do not handle monetary resources to provide direct support to the diaspora affected by the pandemic, an aspect on which the National Assembly is working together with President Guaidó. That is why we are coordinating with NGOs, foundations and the private sector to implement mechanisms to provide food and other support to our brothers who are facing this difficult situation.
Medical teams for aid within Venezuela
Fernando Blasi explained that the Embassy’s Commercial Affairs Directorate works with organizations specialized in the U.S. in donating medical equipment to countries in need.
“These organizations in the U.S., which we prefer not to mention so that the regime does not hinder these efforts and aid can reach Venezuela, focus on different mechanisms to identify and mobilize medical equipment for countries like ours. In addition, many of these organizations provide training and technical knowledge on health issues. This is, without a doubt, an important support in the efforts to assist Venezuelans that we carry out from the Embassy under the guidelines of President Guaidó”.
Venezuelan Community in the U.S. Benefited by Federal Aid
Blasi explained that in a first phase the Embassy channeled important information to the diaspora so that they could access federal aid implemented by the U.S. government.
“Already several Venezuelans, who have “social security” and have declared taxes in one of the two previous periods, began to receive the stimulus checks, which are part of the U.S. federal government’s strategy against the pandemic. This program has been an important help in this difficult time because each person or family that qualifies receives a check of $1,200, if they earn less than $75,000 a year, and if they do their taxes together with the couple and declare less than $150,000 in the year, they will receive $2,400. Additionally, for each child under 18, they receive $500,” said Blasi.
He reminded those interested that through a new initiative of the Treasury Department in conjunction with the IRS, the free application called “Get My Payment,” people will be able to confirm if they will receive the tax incentive check and track its status.
Finally, he reiterated that as part of the options available, Venezuelan citizens with social security numbers can apply for Unemployment Insurance.
“To qualify for this benefit program, you must have worked for a specified period, usually in the past 12 to 18 months, and received a minimum wage amount, as established by each state. You must also have been determined to be unemployed through no fault of your own and to meet the eligibility requirements determined under state law.”
Blasi explained that to determine eligibility for this and other assistance mechanisms, interested parties can go to www.benefits.gov and complete the verification steps. He noted that requirements vary by state and the information is in Spanish.