HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – A program designed to put Connecticut back to work has backfired on a local man.
Months after getting a job and keeping it, he still hasn’t seen his âsigning bonusâ.
Bruce Lavigne is a graphic designer and freelance writer during the pandemic.
âUpdates to client websites, but no real full-time work to offer,â he said.
For months he said he was looking.
âAll the resume boards, I was posting ads on Craigslist, I was in touch with all the headhunters. Every avenue that existed, that curriculum vitae was there, âhe explained.
On May 17, he saw Governor Ned Lamont announce a lucrative opportunity for those still on the sidelines.
âStarting Monday, Connecticut is going to give you a signing bonus of $ 1,000. You see great athletes get a signing bonus, why don’t you also get a signing bonus, âLamont said.
The âBack to Work CTâ program was an incentive to get people out of unemployment, and $ 10 million was set aside for 10,000 workers.
The timing was right as Bruce was due to start a full-time graphic design job on May 24th.
“All the documents have been submitted, and they have been resubmitted,” he said.
So far, the Revenue Department has paid out over $ 3.8 million since August, but Bruce has not received his check. Week after week, he waited, but still nothing.
âI was actually disappointed because I was expecting this money,â Lavigne said.
According to the Department of Revenue, to qualify for the $ 1,000 bonus, applicants had to do three things:
Keep the job full time for eight consecutive weeks, which Lavigne did.
Do not receive unemployment during this eight week period. Bruce says he did this.
And filed for unemployment with the state for the week before May 30. Bruce didn’t because he saw Governor Lamont say the program started on the 24th.
âIt had the date of the 24th,â Lavigne said.
At his May 17 press conference, Lamont said, âStarting Monday, Connecticut is going to give you a signing bonus of $ 1,000. “
Lavigne believed that the “Monday” Lamont referred to was the 24th, the Monday following this press conference.
Channel 3 Team I asked the Revenue Department and the governor’s office if the program was postponed for a week.
They said the date was still May 30, highlighting the app.
It’s also on a press release sent the same day as the press conference.
The 30 is also on the site which sets out the criteria.
So it seems that an incorrect date was only shown once, but it was during this press conference which was broadcast live on almost every local station.
Lavigne said he was counting on that date.
âHere’s the confusing part about it. Why haven’t I been warned? At least if I’m qualified for this program and have submitted and have already received my application and you have received my credentials, why haven’t you informed me that it has been changed, five, six days later, regardless of the date, âLavigne said.
The state is no longer accepting applications and the I-Team has asked how many applicants, like Bruce, started their work before the 30th and will not receive their $ 1,000 bonus.
They said: “The DRS is completing the exams for people identified as not meeting one or more of the eligibility requirements and will soon send a formal notification (by letter) to those people.”
âI want the governor’s office to honor all the claims that have been submitted,â Lavigne said.
Over the phone, the I-Team asked Blanc the governor’s office of first claimants and the Department of Revenue if they would honor Lavigne’s claim. They said it was not valid.
Bruce now feels like he’s being punished for being a week too early.
“What if it was six, eight or ten days?” Is it really going to make a difference, I don’t think so, âLavigne said.
If you are someone who applied early, based on the governor’s press conference, you may not receive a check and you should expect to receive a letter confirming it soon.
If you applied within the time frame stated on the application and still haven’t received a check, don’t worry. The state sends out the checks at the end of each month and less than half are out, which can take some time.