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Government aid in Covid-19 crisis should include help for people with compromised immune systems

Posted 30 March 2020 at 8:45 am

Editor:

I see the news every day, lawmakers are extending unemployment benefits for workers who have been laid off due to the Covid-19 crisis, extending help to small businesses, etc. These are fantastic things.

I am writing to ask what about the millions of us Americans that live and work every day with compromised immune systems due to underlying illnesses or from immunosuppressive medications?

The Americans that only have the choices of go to work at higher risk of disease and infection, or stay home voluntarily, make no money and not be able to pay bills or buy needed supplies. We fall through the cracks, not eligible for unemployment benefits because we stay home voluntarily in hopes to avoid infection, not eligible for assistance because we have a job we can go to if we choose that risk.

We are not lazy people, we would just prefer not to get sick if possible. Many of these people are hard-working Americans that pay taxes and contribute to society. I have written a similar letter to Senator Robert Ort’s office, with the only response being: “We have been hearing a few stories that are similar to yours and with everything rapidly changing each day, we advise people to continue to monitor the DOL’s Unemployment (https://www.labor.ny.gov/home/) website as they post changes and waivers of requirements as they come in.”

That’s great, but I don’t foresee the DOL waiving the “ready, willing, and able requirement” for unemployment. That would be welfare at that point.

All the while the state doles out millions of dollars to perfectly capable people that are flat out working the system to get a free ride, carry 1,000-dollar cell phones, covered in tattoos, freezers full of food, smoking cigarettes, carrying cases of beer and lotto tickets out of the stores and never paying any taxes, and getting tens of thousands of dollars back in tax “refunds.” How is it a refund? Last I knew, tax refunds were refunds for overpayment of taxes.

Scott Lonnen

Gaines