Comptroller Natalie Braswell announced on Thursday the launch of a new “Premium Pay” program that will provide payments up to $1,000 for eligible essential workers.
Workers can now check their eligibility and apply for the program at CTEssentialWorkerRelief.org. Demand is expected to be significant. An unannounced soft launch of the website has drawn over 47,000 registrations. However, the program is not first-come, first-served and workers have until October 1, 2022, to complete their application.
“This program will provide well-deserved assistance to essential workers that were on the frontlines providing health care and childcare, keeping our economy running and continuing to support our most at-risk neighbors during the pandemic,” said Comptroller Braswell. “The early enthusiasm for this program illustrates the impact that these funds can have for workers and their families. I look forward to traveling the state to make sure every eligible worker knows where to go, and how to apply, to get the relief they’ve earned.”
To be eligible for the “Premium Pay” program, workers must have:
- Worked as an essential worker in Connecticut between March 10, 2020, and May 7, 2022.
- Been unable to work from home.
- Worked in a job categorized by the CDC as 1A or 1B. (Click to view list)
- Worked in the private sector. This program is not available to federal, state or municipal essential workers.
- Earned $149,999 or less.
A total of $30 million was allocated for the program in the 2022 state budget. Applications will be accepted until October 1, 2022. At that time, final payment calculations will occur with funds expected to be distributed in early 2023. If the number of applicants exceeds available funding, each payment will be reduced proportionally.
Full-time essential workers making less than $100,000 per year are eligible for payments up to $1,000. The payment amounts gradually decrease for workers earning more. No one who earned $150,000 or more is eligible. Part-time workers who qualify can receive up to $500.
The “Premium Pay” application lives on the same website as the existing COVID-19 Relief Fund. This fund, which launched in Jan. 2022 and is also administered by the comptroller’s office, provides financial relief to essential workers who contracted COVID-19 during the onset of the pandemic and suffered lost wages or out-of-pocket medical costs as a result. There is also burial assistance available for the families of essential workers who died from COVID-19.
“The Premium Pay program will work in tandem with the existing COVID-19 Relief Fund,” said Comptroller Braswell. “Although the eligibility criteria for each program differs, applicants can apply for both funds if they qualify. Support personnel is available to answer questions, offer assistance, provide paper applications or Spanish language instructions for either fund.”
To learn more about either program, or to apply, please visit CTEssentialWorkerRelief.org.
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