The Bulkeley Bridge across the Connecticut River on Thursday, March 19, 2020
The Bulkeley Bridge across the Connecticut River on Thursday, March 19, 2020, during an extraordinarily quiet afternoon rush hour because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Doug Hardy / CTNewsJunkie

The deadline for the COVID-19 essential worker relief program is fast approaching and has already received over 150,000 completed applications and more than 313,000 requests for applications.  

The program was envisioned to provide up to $1,000 to essential workers in the private sector who were unable to stay home when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out more than two years ago.

“There has been incredible enthusiasm for this program, with over 150,000 applications already received,” state Comptroller Natalie Braswell, said. “However, there is still time to apply for this financial relief. These workers were on the frontlines during the worst of the pandemic, making tremendous personal sacrifices on our behalf. I encourage every eligible worker to apply for the funds they’ve earned and deserve before the Oct. 1 deadline.”

In order to qualify for the program an essential worker must have been at work between March 10, 2020 and May 7, 2022. The worker must have been unable to work from home and was not employed by the local, state or federal government. 

They also would have had to earn less than $149,999 per year. 

As of the end of day last Thursday, over 154,000 applications have been completed. All applications will be reviewed and evaluated after every worker has been given an opportunity to apply. Final payment calculations will then occur with funds expected to be distributed in early 2023.

A total of $30 million was allocated for the program as part of the 2022 state budget. If the number of applicants exceeds available funding, each payment will be reduced proportionally.

That means it’s unlikely many workers will receive the full $1,000 amount and it’s unclear if lawmakers will approve another round of funding when they reconvene in January. 

Labor advocates had warned early on that the funding would not be enough. They said anything less than $1,000 for workers who risked their lives would be an insult. 

But lawmakers were only able to approve $30 million for the program, even though much higher amounts were suggested. 

The state is on track to end the fiscal year with a $2.3 billion surplus. Legislative leadership has said they would revisit the issue in January. 

To apply for the program you can visit: