Connecticut residents rush to apply for Premium Pay program

The program offers essential employees who have worked during the pandemic payments of up to $1,000.

CONNECTICUT, USA – As of Friday afternoon, 64,000 people in Connecticut signed up for the state’s “Premium Pay” program. The program provides essential workers with payments of up to $1,000. Although it’s unclear exactly how much people will receive before the October 1 deadline.

Amid the uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers were on the front line.

“Our members went through it all and they didn’t get to zoom in on their day and they fed us and they kept the economy running for us and they were definitely heroes,” Marc A said. Espinosa, UFCW Local President. 919.

RELATED: Connecticut essential workers can claim $1,000 ‘hero’ pay

Among those workers were grocery store employees, thousands of whom are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, who are happy to hear that the state will provide “hero pay” for those employees.

“Getting something across was better than nothing and it was a long time coming of course,” Espinosa said.

The “Premium Pay” program was launched this week.

There are specific requirements people must meet to apply:

  • Employed as an essential worker in CT from March 10, 2020 to May 7, 2022
  • “Essential workers” are defined according to the following CDC guidelines: anyone who was in categories 1A and 1B defined by the CDC for the initial deployment of the vaccine. Here is a list of jobs that make the cut.
  • Not being able to work from home
  • Not be employed by any federal, state or municipal government agency
  • Won $149,999 or less

“The program is not first-come, first-served. The application deadline is October 1, so everyone has an equal opportunity to apply for the funding,” State Comptroller Natalie Braswell said.

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$30 million has been allocated to the program and payment amounts will be determined based on the number of eligible people.

But the importance of demand is already evident. Tens of thousands of people applied before the official launch, and the union said only grocery stores had so many workers.

RELATED: Millions in COVID funds yet to be distributed to workers in Connecticut

“Our understanding is that there are probably 30,000 grocery store workers in the state of Connecticut,” Espinosa said.

More information on eligibility and application can be found here.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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