Legislature Helps Fed Workers in Shutdown

January 23, 2019

For more than a month, at least 1,500 federal employees in Connecticut either have been furloughed or forced to work without pay because of a politically motivated shutdown of government in our nation's capital.

With no end in sight, the workers who live in Hartford, Windsor and other municipalities across the state are struggling to pay their bills and keep food on the table while they wait for their paychecks to resume.

To help our friends and neighbors, I am gratified that we passed by an overwhelmingly vote legislation, which has already been signed into law, making available unemployment assistance, interest-free loans of up to $5,000 and other resources for them.

The measure,  House Bill 5765, also:

  • Creates a no-interest state-backed loan program during the shutdown
  • Adjusts statutes for collecting unemployment compensation benefits
  • Allows towns to extend their property tax/fee deadlines

The legislation enables a private, public partnership with the CT Bankers' Assoc. and participating banks to help those suffering the financial crisis by making interest-free loans of up to $5,000 for each worker.

The idea for the partnership – the first of its kind in the nation – was developed between Governor Lamont and the state’s banking community.

“This unique and innovative partnership will help federal workers access the funding necessary to pay their bills and put food on the table during the shutdown,” Governor Lamont said. “Its quick, bipartisan approval by the General Assembly is an example of what we can accomplish when we partner with the private sector and come together as leaders, rather than Democrats or Republicans."

The legislation permits federal workers who live in the state to receive loans from banks and credit unions that amount to one month’s net pay, capped at $5,000. In the event that the shutdown continues for an extended period of time, participating banks and the state will work with impacted employees to provide additional funds.

To date, a growing number of the state’s financial institutions have contacted the Lamont administration indicating their intention to provide the loans, including Webster Bank and People’s United Bank.

Federal employees who are interested applying for a loan under the partnership should contact the bank or credit union of which they are a member to determine whether it is participating. If it is not, loans may be available through a bank or credit union other than that employees’ usual financial institution.

In addition to creating the loan program, the legislation permits municipalities to defer property tax payments from impacted federal employees, and prepares the state’s unemployment insurance system to offer benefits to essential workers if the requisite changes are made to federal law.

For more details on the legislation, click this link.

-- Brandon