HARTFORD, CT (STL.News) Governor Ned Lamont announced that as Connecticut continues to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he is creating the Back to Work CT program, which will provide a one-time $1,000 bonus payment to 10,000 long-term unemployed people who live in Connecticut and obtain new jobs. The program is designed to encouraged long-term unemployed individuals to find work.
Although Connecticut’s economy added 17,000 jobs in the first quarter of 2021 and the pace of the recovery is accelerating as the pandemic subsides, many residents who lost their jobs during COVID-19 are still struggling to find good-paying work appropriate to their skills and their families’ needs. The Lamont administration has made it possible for jobseekers to access vaccines, affordable childcare, workforce development opportunities, and a fair minimum wage. This new program will complement those efforts by encouraging those who’ve been out of work the longest to find employment and helping them cover the costs of searching for and starting a new job.
To be eligible, workers must:
- Have filed an unemployment claim with the State of Connecticut for the week immediately prior to May 30, 2021;
- Obtain and maintain a full-time job for a period of eight consecutive weeks prior to December 31, 2021; and
- Not receive unemployment compensation during the required eight-week period of employment.
The program is being administered by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. In the coming days, the department will create a form on its website for individuals to apply. The first applications will be accepted eight weeks from the start date of the program. Workers will be eligible to receive only one incentive payment.
“This is the latest too in our toolbox to maximize our state’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” Governor Lamont said. “We have already proposed millions of new investment in programs aimed at supporting our residents when it comes to workforce development, one of the largest expansions in affordable childcare in our state’s history, and investment in our urban centers aimed at providing more opportunity that will lead to stronger communities.”
The program will be supported by Connecticut’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, which utilizes federal funding obtained through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT).
“The Department of Revenue Services is proud to work with Governor Lamont and colleagues in the administration on this timely investment in our state and our people,” Revenue Services Commissioner Mark D. Boughton said. “The Back to Work CT initiative offers a tangible incentive to those taking affirmative steps to transition from unemployment back to the workforce. These and other innovative efforts will continue to fuel economic growth and with it, Connecticut’s comeback.”
“This pandemic disproportionately struck women, people of color, and low income workers, and it happened almost overnight,” Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said. “The successful vaccine rollout and the focus on getting childcare back in place will allow many workers to go back to their jobs and start to rebuild. I applaud Governor Lamont for providing this assistance to help families return to the new normal.”
At the end of the month, the Connecticut Department of Labor will also reinstate work search requirements for UI recipients and pre-pandemic guidance on what constitutes suitable work. Work search requirements were waived last year, pursuant to federal law, when jobs were scarce and job searches were especially difficult. Twenty-nine states have reinstated those requirements.
The Department of Revenue Service website is available at ct.gov/drs. Application forms for the Back to Work CT program will be available on that website in the coming days.