Earlier this month, the state of Connecticut launched the application process for its new Hero Pay program for essential workers. The program, funded with a $30 million appropriation in the state budget, may provide up to $1,000 in a pandemic pay premium for eligible, private-sector essential workers. To qualify, employees must be deemed essential workers (categories 1a and 1b on the CDC vaccination priority list) who were employed and working in an essential capacity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic (a period defined as between March 10, 2020 and May 7, 2022) and earned less than $150,000. Applications for the program will be accepted now through the program deadline of October 1, 2022 on the program website, CT Premium Pay Program. Separate from the Hero Pay Program, Connecticut has also created the Essential Worker COVID-19 Assistance Fund with some $34 million appropriated to provide assistance to support the critical workforce (essential workers) that helped keep the state operational during the pandemic. Benefits from the assistance fund, which can cover lost wages, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and burial expenses, will be distributed on a first come-first served basis until all funds are exhausted.