Photo of Senator Kushner.

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Representing Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman

Sen. Kushner Welcomes Essential Workers' Covid-19 Assistance Program in State Implementer


HARTFORD – State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) today welcomed the passage of the state implementer bill and a provision within it that creates a new state fund to pay for the lost wages, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and burial expenses for essential workers who contracted COVID-19 or who died from it over the past year.

The bill creates the $34 million Connecticut Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Program for certain essential employees who couldn't work due to contracting COVID-19 or its symptoms.

The fund – to be administered by the state comptroller – will make payouts on a first-come, first-served basis to health care personnel, firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, education sector workers, and child care workers for their lost wages, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and burial expenses.

To gauge how many people may be able to take advantage of the new program, consider that 3,500 workers in Connecticut have already applied to the state Workers' Compensation Commission for lost wages and other financial harm as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

"For the past year-plus, essential workers in Connecticut have served us while we stayed home, and they took care of us in the worst part of the pandemic. They fed us, taught us, and put their lives at risk for our families," Sen. Kushner said. "Now it's time to say more than 'thank you.' We need to reward them for the sacrifices they endured for our benefit.

To apply for program benefits, the bill requires an affected person to submit a claim to the state comptroller's office by July 20, 2022. Distributions will be made within 60 days of application through June 30, 2024.

Details of the new law are contained in sections 323-325 of the implementer bill: https://cga.ct.gov/2021/BA/PDF/2021SB-01202-R00SS1-BA.PDF