MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s “hero pay” bonuses will start going out Wednesday, Feb. 1, Comptroller Sean Scanlon announced Tuesday at the Stop & Shop in Middletown.

The Premium Pay program was created to provide a payment of up to $1,000 to essential workers employed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scanlon said the payments would be sent out in batches of 20,000 per week and go first to the direct deposit accounts of 120,000 essential workers who qualified for the program.

The state comptroller said an additional 35,000 eligible workers chose to receive paper checks, which will be mailed in five to six weeks. If problems arise with an applicant’s direct deposit, a paper check will be issued.

The payments will be processed in the order applications were submitted.

The Premium Pay program’s application period closed on Oct. 1, 2022. Eligible applicants had to meet the following criteria:

  • Be an essential worker in Connecticut from March 10, 2020, to May 7, 2022;
  • Had to go to work in person, 
  • Worked in the private sector;
  • Had a job in health care, food distribution, public safety, and other essential services; and
  • Earned less than $150,000

Grocery store workers are among those who qualified for the program.

“All of us relied on the men and women standing behind me and working in this store who went to work each and every single day and put their lives literally on the line to make sure each and every member of this community and all communities in Connecticut could have the basic necessity of buying food which is something we should never take for granted,” Scanlon said.

“We showed up when many of our friends and family had the choice to work from home, or their jobs were shut down, and they were able to collect enhanced unemployment, often making more money than when they were working,” said Justin Carda, a Stop & Shop worker, and UFCW Union Steward.