A Win for Connecticut Essential Workers!
Connecticut essential employees that worked during the Covid-19 pandemic are eligible to apply for a financial bonus of up to $1,000 administered by the state’s comptroller's office. The program is called “Hero Pay,” and it is a thank you to the essential employees who worked during the pandemic for maintaining the economy and taking care of the public. The Connecticut General Assembly voted to assist essential workers earlier this year, and Governor Ned Lamont responded by allocating 30 million dollars to this “Hero Pay” program.
'Hero Pay' Eligibility
The significant part of this program is that there is NO minimum number of days you must have worked during the pandemic to qualify. It is also NOT only for healthcare providers. Tony Powell, a Hospital Administrative Coordinator who worked during the pandemic, said, “Nobody recognizes those workers that are really on the front line. People are recognizing doctors and nurses. But they’re not recognizing dietary, environmental service, CNAs. These are the people doing all the main grunt work that has to be done. Nobody is telling them, ‘We appreciate what you do. We realize you have a family. We realize you are underpaid. We realize you are understaffed.” This fantastic bonus looks out for people like Tony.
Your application should get approved if you are eligible for the requirements below,
- Worked as an essential worker in Connecticut between March 10, 2020, and May 7, 2022.
- Unable to work from home during that time.
- Worked in a job categorized by the CDC as 1A or 1B. (See the list here)
- Worked in the private sector. (Unfortunately, this program is unavailable to federal, state, or municipal essential workers.)
- Earned less than 150,000k a year.
How Much 'Hero Pay' Should I Expect?
If you earn less than $100,000, as well as the other requirement below, you can apply for a $1,000 bonus. If you make between $100,000 – $150,000, you are eligible for a bonus that varies on your paycheck. Part-time employees are eligible to receive $500.
If the number of applications exceeds what is available in the fund, the amount dispersed will be reduced proportionally. While it is NOT first come, first serve, it is best you get your application in promptly to possibly get it evaluated sooner than later.
Where to Apply the CT 'Hero Pay'?
You can check your eligibility and apply here. During the process, you must provide verification to apply, such as a social security card and pay stub. Many people are expected to apply; applying at your earliest convenience is strongly encouraged. Comptroller Natalie Braswell reported that the website crashed multiple times in its first few days when around 30,000 CT workers applied. It is the employees’ responsibility to apply to the program.
When Is the Deadline?
Workers have until October 1, 2022, to apply.
When Will It Be Distributed?
It will not be immediately as it takes time for all the applications to be evaluated. The payout is expected to be around early 2023—a great bonus for after the holiday spending as prices continue to rise.
Is 'Hero Pay' Taxable?
Yes, recipients will receive a 1099 tax form to claim in their taxes that year.
Get the 'Hero Pay' You Deserve
It might seem too good to be true, but fortunately, it's not. Connecticut State Legislature wanted to reward those employees who were not lucky enough to stay at home and receive unemployment. Instead, they put their health on the line and did the hard work. David Saucedo, a nursing home cook who worked during the pandemic, said, "Whatever infections they have, it all is going to end up in the kitchen. The Alzheimer's patients don't know about 'six feet, keep your distance.' They just come up to you, grab you, and sit and talk to you. I need to protect them as much as I need to protect myself. The last thing I want to do is get one of my patients sick or one of my loved ones sick." This program looks out for people like David and recognizes him for all his efforts during that time.
Remember to encourage anyone you know who was an essential worker during the pandemic to apply for this fantastic Connecticut program.