‘Premium Pay’ program for essential workers officially launches

Launch delay for pandemic bonus website
Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 7:22 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 1:22 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A program established by the Connecticut legislature to provide financial relief to “essential workers” who worked through the COVID-19 officially launched on Thursday.

State Comptroller Natalie Braswell announced the launch.

Essential workers may be eligible for up to a $1,000 payment from the Premium Pay Program.

The state comptroller’s office said the site was originally supposed to launch on Wednesday.

“Demand is expected to be significant. An unannounced soft launch of the website has drawn over 47,000 registrations,” state officials said.

To apply for the program, click here.

Officials said workers will have until Oct. 1 to apply.

“This is NOT a first-come, first-served program,” the state comptroller’s office said.

The state began work on the site Aug. 5. It acknowledged some confusion over the launch.

The Connecticut Premium Pay Program is a fund approved by the Connecticut General Assembly that has made $30 million dollars in assistance available to support the critical workforce that helped keep the state operational during the pandemic. The comptroller’s office said it will oversee the program and has engaged a public consulting group to assist with claim processing and payments. Program benefits will be paid out in early 2023.

This is for workers who were designated as essential workers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Workers who fall under the following categories are eligible to apply for the program:

• I was employed as an essential worker in Connecticut between March 10, 2020 and May 7, 2022?

• I was not able to work from home?

• I was not employed by a federal, state or municipal government agency

• I earned $149,999 or less

The maximum payment is $1,000 for those who made less than $100,000 a year. It’s $800 for workers who earned between $100,000 and $199,000. It’s $600 for those who earned between $110,000 and $119,000. Those who worked part-time could be eligible for $500.

Essentially, the amount goes down depending on workers’ earnings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed jobs such as grocery store workers, nursing home workers, and other health care provider jobs as essential.

Police officers and firefighters, however, are not eligible because they are government employees.

Jessica Soto was a certified nursing assistant at the Mary Wade Home in New Haven at the time of the pandemic.

“It was a very difficult time, like critical. Because we were experiencing residents that had lots of different symptoms and we didn’t know why it was coming along so quickly,” Soto said.

Soto said it was hard watching her patients get sick and she was worried about getting sick herself.

She said she will use some of the money to pay off bills. She had to get her son a computer and pay for childcare.

“It was nerve-wracking,” said Dawn Dunkley Thompson, who also worked at the home as a

Thompson also worked at the Mary Wade Home, but as a Certified Medical Technician.

Some of the workers said they had to wear an astronaut suit and were worried about bringing home the virus to their families.

“Sometimes I would wake up and I am like ‘it’s so dark, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring’ because you are hearing the news all over the place,” Thompson said.

To learn more and apply, head here.

Essential workers eligible for $1,000
Essential workers can apply for up to a $1,000 bonus for working during the pandemic.
A program was established by the Connecticut legislature to provide financial relief to essential workers who worked through the COVID-19 pandemic.