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Apply for Financial Assistance

Many of your lives have been upended as your employers have been forced to cut hours, suspend their business, permanently close and lay off employees.

If you have urgent, necessary expenses that you are unable to pay for until you receive federal assistance or unemployment insurance, or if you do not qualify for those benefits, The Plate Fund may be able to assist you with a $500 emergency relief grant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is open enrollment closed?

#ThePlateFund was created to provide emergency bridge payments to restaurant workers until they received unemployment insurance and/or federal stimulus payments, and to workers who may not be eligible for government assistance due to immigration status or other issues. Open enrollment closed in order to ensure that we are reaching people who have the greatest need. All funds distributed to new applicants after Sunday April 26th will be made available exclusively through our community partners or using codes that applicants receive from their employers or former employers.

If I apply before open enrollment ends, will I still receive funds?

As long as you meet the eligibility criteria AND apply before Sunday, April 26th at 5 pm PT, you will receive financial assistance.

How do I get a code?

If you are an employee or former employee of a restaurant or food service company, please contact your owner or manager in order to find out if they are distributing codes.

What do I do if I receive a code?

#ThePlateFund is providing electronic codes to restaurant owners to distribute to affected workers who are in the greatest need. If you receive an electronic code, enter the code above and upload the required documentation.

The restaurant I worked at is closed and I can’t contact management or ownership to receive a code. Can I still apply?

If you are in this situation, please email us at info@theplatefund.com so we can work to connect you with additional resources.

Where can I find additional resources besides #ThePlateFund?

We’ve put together a list of organizations that may help with food, rent, childcare, mental and emotional health, and other support. The full list is available here. Please continue to check back. As we learn of additional resources, we will update the list.

If I’m a restaurant owner, how do I receive codes for my employees?

Restaurant owners may apply for codes by emailing coderequests@theplatefund.com.

How is #ThePlateFund deciding which restaurants receive codes?

We are working closely with our community partners and restaurants to reach workers who have the greatest need. If your restaurant needs assistance, you may apply for codes by emailing coderequests@theplatefund.com.

Who do I contact if I’m running into technical issues with my application?

Please email fund.support@uptogether.org. We have dedicated support staff for The Plate Fund at UpTogether who can work with you to resolve technical issues.

Examples of technical issues include problems connecting your bank account, an error message referencing “Stripe,” not being able to access your application status once submitted, etc.

Who is eligible to receive funds?

To be eligible for The Plate Fund, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Live in King County
  • Have worked in a restaurant or food service establishment in King County up until March 1, 2020 or are currently working in a food or service establishment in King County and have experienced a reduction in hours
  • Have gross income less than $62,000 a year, inclusive of tips

Examples of restaurant or food service establishment workers include dishwashers, cooks, servers, bartenders, food truck employees and cafeattendants. People already receiving government support should not apply so people more in need may access these emergency funds.

What documentation do I need to apply?

Applicants will be required to provide documentation to verify they live in King County, worked in a restaurant in King County and were laid off as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Applicants will be required to:

  • Upload a pay stub dated on or after March 1, 2020;
  • Upload one form of government issued identification or two forms of alternate identification that includes an applicant’s residential address;
  • Demonstrate that their gross income is no more than $62,000 per year, inclusive of tips;
  • Provide bank account information;
  • Verify that they have experienced a decrease in work hours or loss of their job.

If I don’t have a government issued ID, what two forms of alternate identification should I supply?

Any two sources that show your current address. Some examples could be: utility bills, cable bills, cell phone bills, a current paystub, insurance statements, etc.

What if I do not have a paystub?

You can upload a letter from your employer confirming your wages, employment date, and that your hours or employment have been affected by COVID-19.

Do I need a Social Security number to be eligible to receive funds?

Social Security numbers are not required.

I don’t have a bank account. Can I access The Plate Fund?

We know that not everyone in our community has a bank account at this time. With you in mind, we created a partnership with the Seattle Credit Union. They offer a no-cost savings account which does not require a Social Security number and can be opened online with $5. To start a savings account today with Seattle Credit Union, please visit their website at https://www.seattlecu.com/savings-accounts and follow the steps to setting up an account.

Please know that while the Seattle Credit Union website asks for a Social Security number, you won't need one. Just continue to the next page where you can use your ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

If you do not have access to $5 or don’t have the necessary technology to complete this, please email us at info@theplatefund.com and we will work with you on another solution.

What if I don’t have a bank account?

We recognize a small percentage of restaurant workers do not have bank accounts. If you do not have a bank account, please contact The Plate Fund team at info@theplatefund.com, and we will share additional information about how to access emergency funds. We are also working to add functionality to provide payments via debit or gift cards in the coming weeks.

What do I do if I receive a code from my employer?

The Plate Fund is providing electronic codes to restaurant owners to distribute to affected workers who are in the greatest need. If you receive an electronic code, visit the website, enter the code and upload the required documentation.

Who is reviewing the applications? How are they analyzed?

UpTogether, a digital capital exchange platform that helps low-income people accelerate their economic mobility, will review and process applications. Payments will be disbursed based on the order in which they are received so long as applicants are eligible and submit all of the required documentation.

Is the application available in languages other than English?

Yes, the application is also available in Spanish.

How do I check the status of my application?

You will receive a link in your email once you submit an application. Please use that link to check the status of your application.

How will I be notified if I’m approved?

Applicants will receive an email confirming their approval from UpTogether.

How and when will the funds be disbursed and available?

Applications will be processed as fast as possible, however processing times may vary based on the volume of applications received.

Are funds disbursed on a first come, first served basis?

Yes.

How can I find out why my application was denied?

You will receive a link in the decision email you received. Please click on the link where reasons for certain types of denials can be provided. If you need additional information, please email fund.support@uptogether.org and be sure to include your confirmation number. Some of the common reasons why applications are denied include:

  • The documents or identification you uploaded were too blurry or otherwise unreadable.
  • The documents you submitted were incorrect.
  • You work or live in a place other than King County, which means you are unfortunately ineligible to apply.

How can I help spread the word about The Plate Fund?

We would love your support to reach more members of our community! Please share your stories on social media using #theplatefund.