WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The state is officially launching its website Wednesday on the Connecticut Premium Pay Program, which could provide essential workers with hero pay.

“I help the residents wherever they needed assistance,” Debbie Evans of New London, who works at a nursing home in Mystic, said.

Fallyn Fonville-Smith of New London is a personal care assistant.

“One client I’ve had I’ve had her since she was 17 and now she’s 34,” Fonville-Smith said.

They are both considered essential workers under CDC guidelines and could be eligible for up to $1,000 of hero pay under the $30-million Connecticut Premium Pay Program.

“I do appreciate that they are doing this program because sometimes we feel that we’re forgotten,” Fonville -Smith said.

To be eligible, essential workers had to have worked between March 10, 2020, and May 7, 2022, and not be employed by a federal, state, or municipal government agency. They also had to make $149,999 or less.

“So we’re talking about healthcare workers, childcare workers, grocery store and pharmacy workers, bus drivers, those in the critical manufacturing, and other frontline occupations,” explained Connecticut State Comptroller Natalie Braswell.

There is a sliding scale on how much essential workers may receive.

Basically, if they made less than $100,000 they could be eligible for the full $1,000 hero pay. It drops down as the pay goes higher. Part-timers could be eligible for a bonus of up to $500.

“I think it’s great because we need some compensation for putting our lives out there on the line,” Evans said.

“These folks risked their lives, these folks risked the health of their families every day. They didn’t have an opportunity to Zoom it in,” said Mark Espinosa, President of Local 919 of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union which represents Stop & Shop employees who are among the 30,000 grocery store workers in the state.

“We’ve got money to give out so please go to the website,” Braswell said.

If you are wondering if you are eligible for the hero pay because you had to work during the pandemic and you could not work from home the best thing to do is to apply.

The deadline is October 1, 2022, and you should hear back whether or not you’re approved within 60 days. For more information, visit www.ctessentialworkerrelief.org.