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Essential Worker COVID-19 Relief Fund & Premium Pay Program
Posted On: Aug 10, 2022

Essential Worker COVID-19 Relief Fund & Premium Pay Program

To get more info: Workers with more questions on the Premium Pay Program can call (833) 660-2503 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m

To Email Questions: "contactus@CTEssentialWorkerRelief.org"

Click here to Link to Portal:  https://www.ctessentialworkerrelief.org/

Click here to link to news article on program: https://www.ctpost.com/news/article/pandemic-bonus-essential-workers-ct-17359845.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CT_PO_MorningBriefing&sid=5af4ad4724c17c5fa4202584

CT created a $34M COVID relief fund for essential workers. It remains largely unspent.

The state set up a $34 million fund to help frontline workers, like grocery store employees and health care workers, impacted by the pandemic, but only 1% of the money has been awarded so far. Connecticut’s program to replace lost wages and cover medical expenses for frontline workers who caught COVID has stalled due to a low profile and a complicated application process.  More than six months after the Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Program launched — and one month after lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont dramatically expanded the potential applicant pool — the state has awarded just $361,122, or 1.1%, of the $34 million budget.  And, according to Comptroller Natalie Braswell’s office, only one out of every 17 people who completed a preliminary registration process has received funding.  “That tells me there’s too much red tape,” said Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, co-chairwoman of the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee. “We know that the need is out there.”  “We’ve got to keep fixing it until we get it right,” said Sen. Julie Kushner, D-Danbury, the labor committee’s other co-chairwoman. “Until we’re certain that every worker who deserves this payment has applied, we’re not going to give up on it.” Responding to surging workers’ compensation caseloads, Porter, Kushner and other labor advocates originally wanted a temporary rule change that would presume anyone in a frontline job who contracted COVID had done so at work.  The full legislature and Lamont instead dedicated $34 million to cover lost wages, out-of-pocket medical expenses and burial costs related to COVID cases contracted between March 10, 2020 — when the pandemic first struck Connecticut — and July 20, 2021.  Burial cost assistance is capped at $3,000. There’s no cap on other awards, and all funds are issued on a first-come-first-served basis.

Information on Program

While they didn’t add any additional money to the fund, there is still money available for eligible applicants.  We recommend filing as soon as possible at the CT Covid 19 Essential Worker Fund so claims are made and filed while the fund still has assets available from it’s original $34million.  The money is a way to recognize workers, like our members, who worked throughout the Covid 19 pandemic and did not see anything relative to support for what they did during COVID 19.

The expansion of essential workers brings in new work categories, including many in our Teamster career fields including workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), public safety and public health workers.

The program provides eligible claimants with benefits for uncompensated leave, out-of-pocket medical costs, and burial expenses and claimants may receive payments for uncompensated leave while the claim for medical costs is pending.  Under the new law, a claimant’s disability or unemployment claim will not prevent the program administrator from approving a claim for the program’s current benefits or the bill’s new leave benefits, as long as the current benefits are offset by any disability or unemployment benefits already paid to the claimant for his or her uncompensated leave, including payments made without prejudice.

About the CT Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Fund

The Connecticut Essential Worker COVID-19 Assistance Fund was approved by the Connecticut General Assembly to make $34 million available in assistance to support the critical workforce that helped keep the state operational during the pandemic. Program benefits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been distributed.   By law, the program provides benefits for uncompensated leave, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and burial expenses to certain essential employees who could not work between March 10, 2020, and July 20, 2021 (now December 31st 2022) due to contracting COVID-19, or symptoms that were later diagnosed as COVID-19.

Click here to learn more about the program: https://www.ctessentialworkerrelief.org/

Click here to check eligibility: https://www.ctessentialworkerrelief.org/eligible-to-apply


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