(The Center Square) – As federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security benefits expired Sept. 4, about 23,000 Connecticut residents going forward will see $300 less in their unemployment checks.
State labor officials said nearly 125,000 residents were collecting the federal benefits, and about 48,000 will continue to collect the additional $300 through state or extended benefit programs. Another 54,000 could be available to collect the benefits by transferring them to a state program.
No options are available for the remaining 23,000 who will lose their benefits, labor officials said.
The High Extended Benefits program is slated to end on Sept. 11, which will have another 11,000 residents losing benefits. The federal dollars paid for an additional seven weeks of benefits in states where the unemployment rate was more than 8%. Connecticut’s unemployment rate was 7.3% in July, which dropped the three-month average below 8%.
The state has regained 67% of the jobs lost since the pandemic began in March 2020, according to labor officials.
“This job market provides a lot of opportunity for job seekers,” said interim Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo of the Connecticut Department of Labor. “There are thousands of jobs being added weekly, so it’s a very good time for people to find that great new job – or even launch a new career.”
Gov. Ned Lamont announced late last month that 1,500 residents took advantage of the “Back to Work CT” program which gives long-term unemployed workers headed back to work a $1,000 bonus.
“This one-time bonus payment will help some of those workers pay for the critical things they need to get back to work, including childcare,” Lamont said in a statement. “This is the latest tool in our toolbox to maximize our state’s recovery from the pandemic.”
The “Back to Work CT” program is open to 10,000 residents. The state is paying for the program with $10 million in CARES Act funds.
Connecticut has spent $9.7 billion on unemployment disbursements since March 13, 2020. The state spends $600 million in a normal year, according to state labor officials. The money kept the state from “total economic collapse,” according to Patrick Flaherty, director of research for CTDOL.
“Between unemployment benefits and the Paycheck Protection Program, billions of dollars have helped keep households and businesses afloat and able to weather the COVID shut down,” Flaherty said in a statement. “Looking ahead, the economic risk facing Connecticut is the increasing rate of infection. The state’s underlying economy is strong, the public health situation has to improve for the economy to continue to recover.”