‘Hero pay’ for essential COVID workers to start going out next week

Hero fund payments will start in February
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 10:03 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 6:58 PM EST
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MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) - The state’s comptroller gave an update on the state’s “hero pay” program.

Comptroller Sean Scanlon said the first payments would go out on Feb. 1.

He participated in a news conference at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Scanlon was joined local elected officials, Middletown Stop & Shop employees, and UFCW representatives to announce updated details on the schedule for disbursement of Premium Pay.

State comptroller Sean Scanlon participated in a news conference at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

“During times of difficult uncertainty, Connecticut’s frontline workers stepped up and kept our grocery stores open, our hospitals operational, our communities safe and so much more,” Scanlon said. “They were essential to getting us through the pandemic, and this payment is just one small way we can thank them. By providing some relief, we can show how grateful we are to our heroes.”

The hero pay program was set up to give bonuses to private sector employees who had to work during the pandemic. Nearly 150,000 essential workers in Connecticut applied and are qualified for the program.

People started applying in back in August, but so many people applied there wasn’t enough money to fully fund it. Lawmakers had to add money to the fund in a special session in November.

Earlier this month, Channel 3 reported that essential workers were supposed to start getting their bonuses in early February.

Scanlon’s office said recipients should have received an email notifying them of their status sometime between Nov. 1 and Dec. 19.

The comptroller said one-time direct deposit payments, of which there were approximately 120,000, will begin processing on Feb. 1. Paper checks, of which there are about 35,000, will be mailed in 5-to-6 weeks.

During the disbursement, Scanlon said 20,000 payments will be made each week in the order that applications were submitted. Should any problems arise with an applicant’s direct deposit, a paper check will be issued.

The Premium Pay program was created to provide up to $1,000 to Connecticut essential workers who meet eligibility criteria established by state law. The application closed Oct. 1.

To be eligible, workers must have:

  • Worked as an essential worker in Connecticut for the entirety of the time period between March 10, 2020, and May 7, 2022.
  • Not able to work from home.
  • Worked in a job categorized by the CDC as 1A or 1B.
  • Worked in the private sector.
  • Earned $149,999 or less.

The program, which is overseen by the Connecticut State Comptroller, will provide assistance to essential workers who kept Connecticut operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application process is now closed, but there is a number you can call if you need help or want to check on the status of your application, call 1-833-660-2503.

"Hero pay" to start going out next week
A news conference in Middletown was held earlier this morning announcing that all the kinks in the program have been worked out.