Our Youth Need Alternatives to Unemployment Insurance and Stimulus Checks

When I first heard about the U.S. postponing professional sporting events indefinitely, I immediately thought about our 500 Juma Youth employed in stadiums around the country who are no longer able to engage in meaningful employment, and I feel immense disappointment for these youth.


As an organization, we are exploring every potential avenue that may help provide essential income for our youth, including our Youth’s eligibility for both unemployment insurance and stimulus checks included in the CARES Act. This is what we know as of now (for this email we have simplified some of the different requirements state by state) :


Unemployment Insurance: 

  • In order to receive unemployment insurance, one must meet a certain income threshold – at least $1,300 earned in their highest-paid quarter during the previous 12 months. The majority of our youth, for whom Juma is often their first job, will not meet the threshold allowing them to receive the benefit.

  • Anyone who has been working and receiving an income is eligible to apply for unemployment insurance, but that does not guarantee the benefit.

  • Given the circumstances, we will still encourage our youth to apply for unemployment insurance; however, we are being transparent about the qualification thresholds, as well as realistic about the timing as states respond to the overwhelming influx of UI applications.


Stimulus Checks: 

  • Our youth who are under the age of 18 (for the most part) will not be eligible for a stimulus check.

  • Our youth who are claimed as dependents will not be eligible for a stimulus check.

  • Currently, our youth must have a bank account registered with the IRS in order to receive a direct deposit. We are aware that the IRS is working to create an option for people who do not have a bank account; however, there is no timeline for when this might be implemented.


It is abundantly clear that our youth are going to face major hurdles in attempting to benefit from these programs, regardless of the state that they live in. That is why it is of the utmost importance that we continue to provide our youth with a significant level of income and support so that they can continue to meet their most basic needs. In the interim, Juma staff are working with youth to assist and strongly encourage them to:

  • Register a bank account

  • Register their information with the IRS if they have not filed taxes in the prior two years

  • Set up their banking account direct deposit through the IRS to receive/pay for any tax rebates upon return, as well as the CARES act stimulus check

  • Evaluate the risks of alternative employment opportunities during this crisis


For 27 years, Juma Ventures has been a starting point, support system, and a vehicle for youth from underserved communities to gain economic footing. Today, perhaps more than most, we are hoping we can count on you to make a donation to support these young people for whom work is not currently an option.


Thank you,