The application period for Los Angeles residents who qualify for the new “Angeleno Card,” a prepaid debit card for people struggling financially due to COVID-19, closed Thursday afternoon.
The deadline for the no-fee debit card passed at 4:30 p.m.
To be eligible, residents must have had their income reduced by at least 50% due to the virus and have a total household income that fell below the poverty line prior to the outbreak. For a single-person household, that would be an annual income of less than $12,400.
The cash assistance — gathered through private funding — was described by Mayor Eric Garcetti this week as “exactly what’s needed right now.” It comes as the mayor has indicated that large public gatherings, from Dodgers games to concerts, could go unseen in L.A. until 2021.
Mass business closures and stay-at-home orders across the U.S. have resulted in a record 22 million Americans seeking unemployment benefits within the past month. An estimated 5.2 million more people filed unemployment claims last week alone, federal officials said.
Angeleno Cards come in amounts of $700, $1,100 or $1,500, which vary according to the income and size of a given household, according to the city. For instance, single-person households only qualify for the $700 card while $1,500 is available to households with between five to 12 people.
After the program was announced Monday, residents were able to apply from Tuesday to Thursday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. by calling 213-252-3040 or visiting hcidla.lacity.org to fill out an online application.
The city received 56,000 applications on Tuesday alone and the site crashed, not showing up for many users as thousands descended on the page.
“We’re looking into it getting the website up again. Folks can check back later — there is no advantage to applying early,” the mayor’s spokeswoman, Andrea Garcia, said Tuesday.
On Wednesday, another 130,000 applications were submitted, the Housing and Community Investment Department reported in a tweet.
By Thursday morning, the page for the debit card was up and running but featured a message saying the city was “experiencing high call volumes,” instructing callers to apply online instead.
On Thursday, complaints continued to surface on social media about callers struggling to get through.
Those who apply must submit documentation such as a driver’s license listing an L.A. address or other proof of residency and evidence of COVID-19-related economic hardship such as a layoff letter from an employer.
Garcetti has said immigration status does not affect eligibility and the card is available to undocumented immigrants who live in L.A.
A full list of requirements and other information can be found here.