pandemic pay

State Expects to Officially Launch $1,000 ‘Hero Pay' Program in Coming Days

The state comptroller’s office is encouraging people to wait until the official launch to apply.

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The state expects in the next several days to officially launch a program to provide up to $1,000 in pandemic pay for eligible, private-sector essential workers in Connecticut who were employed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state comptroller’s office said they are working to expand the system capacity and they are urging people to wait for the official launch to apply.

There was a soft launch of the $30 million Premium Pay Program, sometimes called “Hero Pay,” on Friday and the website for applications went up that morning.

State comptroller Natalie Braswell said because of the demand they learned about during the continued soft rollout, they are trying to get more servers online to be able to handle the incredible demand.

The program was supposed to launch Wednesday, but the website is still not ready to roll. NBC CT Responds is checking on the status of the program with the state's comptroller.

“We anticipate the official launch of the new Premium Pay program for essential workers to happen in the next several days. Due to the incredible interest during the unannounced soft launch of the program, our vendor has recommended expanding system capacity before launch to accommodate the large number of expected applicants,” Tyler Van Buren, director of communications at the Office of the State Comptroller, said in a statement Wednesday.

Van Buren said workers are not in competition with each other for the funds, this is not a first-come, first-served program and everyone will have until Oct. 1 to apply.

“I would encourage those interested in applying to wait until the official launch of the program to ensure the best possible experience with the website,” Van Buren said. “Support representatives will be available to help workers through the application process, including offering paper forms and Spanish language assistance if necessary. This is going to be an impactful program that will provide meaningful assistance to our essential workers who did so much on our behalf during the pandemic. We are looking forward to kicking it off in the coming days.”

Are You Eligible to Apply?

You are eligible to apply if:

  • You were employed as an essential worker in Connecticut between March 10, 2020 and May 7, 2022
  • You were not able to work from home
  • You were not employed by a federal, state or municipal government agency
  • You earned $149,999 or less

A link is available on the Premium Pay Program website.

How Payments Are Calculated

Full-Time Employees

  • $1,000 if you earned less than $100,000
  • $800 if you earned between $100,000 and $109,999
  • $600 if you earned between $110,000 and $119,999
  • $400 if you earned between $120,000 and $129,999
  • $200 if you earned between $130,000 and $149,999

Part-Time Employees

  • $500

Note: If the amount in the Connecticut premium pay account is not sufficient to fully fund all approved applicants according to this formula, then all approved applicants' payments shall be reduced proportionally.

Payments will be made in early 2023 after submissions of all applications.

More than 10,000 people have applied for the program, Braswell said. Her office does not have an estimate of how many people might be eligible.

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