Help For Fed. Workers In Shutdown OKd

January 22, 2019

Rep. Santiago joins Governor Lamont and other legislators for signing of the bill.

As House chair of the Banking Committee, I was proud to lead a discussion of the legislation in the House Chamber and cast my vote it. The bill enables a private, public partnership with the CT Bankers' Assoc. and participating banks to help those suffering the financial crisis in the shutdown through no fault of their own. The bill makes available unemployment assistance and interest-free loans of up to $5,000 to federal workers.

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 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 Governor Lamont signed today 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.