If you were an essential worker employed during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for up to a $1000 payment from the state as part of the Premium Pay Program. The comptroller’s office officially launched the website to start collecting applications today.

Those eligible for payment must have been employed by an essential worker between March 10th, 2020 and May 7th, 2022, did not have the option to work from home, were not a federal, state or municipal government employee and earned less than $150,000, according to the website.

The Connecticut Premium Pay Program fund was approved by the Connecticut General Assembly earlier this year. The fund has $30 million available to payout to the members of the workforce that helped keep the state operational during the pandemic. The Connecticut Office of the State Comptroller will oversee the program and has contracted the Public Consulting Group to help process claims and payments.

The payment eligibility breakdown by income for the Premium Pay Program is as follows. Full-time essential workers will receive:

  • $1,000 if you earned less than $100,000
  • $800 if you earned between $100,000 and $109,999
  • $600 if you earned between $110,000 and $119,999
  • $400 if you earned between $120,000 and $129,999
  • $200 if you earned between $130,000 and $149,999

All part-time essential workers will receive a $500 payment.

However, with the comptroller’s office already receiving approximately 47,000 applications since the website was soft-launched last week, it is likely the payments will be cut in order to ensure that the $30 million in available funds is enough to cover all applicants.

That said, some legislators foresaw this issue and have already floated the idea of allocating more funds to expand the program. Initially, labor advocates called for a $750 million fund to support essential workers, but that price tag proved to be too rich. The legislature settled on a $35 million fund, a fraction of Massachusetts’ $500 million program that has provided payments to over 800,000 workers.

The deadline to apply for the Premium Pay Program is Oct. 1st. All applications will be given equal priority and checks will be sent out in early 2023, according to the website.

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Tom Hopkins wrote for CII from April 2022 to February 2023. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist.

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