The State of Connecticut has begun issuing the first round of weekly $600 federal stimulus payments to those who have filed for state unemployment benefits.

In an announcement on Tuesday (April 28), Gov. Ned Lamont explained that the weekly payments, referred to officially as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, began being distributed over this past weekend, and will be retroactive back to March 29, 2020, and will continue through July 25, 2020. Retroactive payments will be provided as a lump sum by the end of this week.

Gov. Lamont referred to the computer system overhaul that the CTDOL had to complete in order to make the payments possible. “Our Department of Labor worked day and night to come up with the technological fixes to ensure benefits were distributed in a timely way to our residents,” said Lamont. “There are hundreds of thousands in our state relying on our Department of Labor to help get them through this crisis, and the state’s loyal and hard-working team never lost sight of that. This is a difficult time for so many, and I appreciate that these new benefits are being distributed.”

The first $600 payments totaled more than $89 million. When combined with nearly $51 million issued in state benefits, the agency provided $140 million in unemployment benefits just last weekend alone.

Department of Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby elaborated on the challenging task and also took the time to thank those who put it all together. “I want to thank the dedicated and talented staff at the Labor Department, as well as our partners and assisting agencies, for the tireless effort put forth to serve the public," said Westby. "The task was complicated, due to a 40-year-old mainframe using a COBOL operating system. Despite these challenges, we have now processed over 340,000 of the 402,000 claim applications filed since March 13.”

In addition to the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, the CTDOL announced that they will soon be accepting applications for two more recently established federal stimulus programs; Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits for self-employed individuals, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), a 13-week extension that allows eligible claimants to collect the additional weeks after exhausting the 26 weeks of state benefits. The agency expects to begin accepting applications for PUA on April 30 and plans to have PEUC in operation by mid-May. Both programs will be retroactive.

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