News from Representative Larson

Dear Friends:

As we adjust to the changes COVID-19 has brought to our daily lives, many of our family members and neighbors are experiencing uncertainty and hardship from losing their job. The CARES Act, which I voted for, has provisions to address this unprecedented crisis and help those who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

Here are some frequently asked questions my office has received regarding unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic:

I was recently laid off or had my employer completely cut my hours because of the coronavirus. What resources are there for me?

  • Laid off and furloughed workers are likely eligible for unemployment insurance payments, even if they previously were not eligible. As part of the CARES Act, workers’ unemployment payments will be increased by $600 per week through July 25th. This benefit supplement will give the average American worker a 100% wage replacement rate. Workers currently receiving benefits will start seeing that increase on April 27th. This increase will be retroactive to all payments made after March 29th.
  • The CARES Act also extends unemployment insurance another 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks of coverage in the State of Connecticut.

My unemployment has recently expired or is about to expire, what do I do?

  • Workers are eligible for an additional 13 weeks, giving Connecticut workers a total of 39 weeks of coverage.
  • You will need to reapply to receive the extended benefits.

What resources are available for me if I’m self-employed or otherwise usually not eligible for Unemployment?

  • As part of the CARES Act, most workers who were previously ineligible for unemployment insurance will now be eligible for benefits. Though the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, newly eligible individuals include self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig economy workers who are unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are eligible.
  • CT Department of Labor (CTDOL) expects applications for PUA to be available by April 30, 2020, with benefits retroactive to a worker’s loss of income.
  • You must file for regular benefits at and be denied from eligibility before filing for and receiving PUA. CTDOL strongly encourages individuals to wait until shortly before the projected commencement of the program on April 30 to file for regular benefits.
  • If you qualify for PUA, you will also be eligible for a federally funded emergency increase of $600 a week in unemployment benefits under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

What if I don’t have health insurance?

  • If you lost your health insurance because you lost your job, you are eligible to get insurance through Access Health CT.
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act ensures that all coronavirus tests will be free of charge for the patient.  This includes Americans without insurance.

How much will I receive as a direct payment?

The CARES Act provides a single, one-time payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under the age of 17.

The rebate phases out above a certain level of income:

  • For individuals, the rebate begins to phase out for those with incomes above $75,000 and fully phases out above $99,000.
  • For those filing taxes as a head of household with one child, the phase out begins at $122,500 and fully phases out above $146,500.
  • For those filing taxes jointly with no children, the phase out begins at $150,000 and fully phases out above $198,000.
  • For those filing taxes jointly with children, the phase out begins at $150,000. The full phaseout amount is dependent the number of eligible children. For a family with two children, the credit fully phases out at $218,000.

For more information about the COVID-19 Relief Direct Payments, click here.

Lastly, to file for unemployment and to find updates on Connecticut’s implementation of the CARES Act, please see here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. If you need any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to send me an email here, call my Hartford Office at 860-278-8888, or check out my unemployment resource page here.


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John B. Larson
Member of Congress


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