COVID-19 Updates, Resources, Information

April 7, 2020

The following is an update from the Department of Labor. Some patience is going to be required through these difficult times.

Public Assistance During COVID19 Pandemic

The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) is working diligently to serve CT residents and appreciates the public’s patience as it works to process the thousands of claims that have been filed the last three weeks. All states are struggling to keep up with IT and phone systems which are routinely crashing.

Typically, the agency receives 3,000 new claims a week; in the last three weeks it has received more than 280,000 claims – more than eighteen months activity in a three-week period. Of these claims the agency has processed over 115,000 by shifting staff responsibilities, borrowing former CTDOL staff that have gone to other agencies, and bringing back retirees.

Although claims are usually processed in three days, the current processing time is five to six weeks based on the unprecedented volume. It will take some time to process all these claims, but CTDOL is working as quickly as possible, and all claims will be retroactive to the week you filed.

To help speed processing, select the “Temporary Shutdown” as the reason for separation from employment. An online tutorial guide to walk you through the process step by step is found here:

The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are normally denied regular unemployment benefits, to receive benefits through the new federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

Due to the staggering number of claims being filed during the pandemic, CTDOL recommends that self-employed and independent contractors wait until the new PUA system is up and available to take claims before first applying for regular benefits.

That delay might expedite the process for self-employed and independent contractors in the future and will also provide the CTDOL with more of an opportunity to keep working on the backlog to prepare for the PUA program.

In order to implement the new federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs, in addition to its IT staff, CTDOL has called back retirees to help, has Department of Administrative Services Bureau of Enterprise Systems and Technology (DAS/BEST) assisting and has a vendor on site – all working round the clock. CTDOL is managing a 5-part system with a 40-year-old mainframe:

  • Attending to daily malfunctions due to heavy traffic
  • Working together with statewide sister agency IT experts on site
  • Having multiple vendors on site monitoring system functionality day and night
  • Recruiting COBOL and developers to keep up with the unprecedented # of claims and create new programs for the federal CARES Act initiatives

Helpful information for claimants

CTDOL’s digital filing platform is open online 24/7 – which improves the initial access to file a claim. File application here (accessible by computer and mobile device)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are updated daily on CTDOL website

To help speed processing, select the “Temporary Shutdown” as the reason for separation from employment. An online tutorial guide to walk you through the process step by step is found here:

General questions may be submitted to

A response can be expected in 5 to 7 business days, depending on volume.
Our American Job Centers are closed to in-person visits due to COVID-19, but claimants may call the following numbers for general information concerning unemployment benefits.
860-263-6975 and 203-455-2653 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday – Friday
203-809-9847 and 203-892-6036 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday - Friday
203-548-7322 (Spanish) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday - Friday

Claims cannot be processed or expedited by calling this telephone service.

FEMA has approved the Lamont administration’s request to include domestic violence survivors along with first responders and health care workers who temporarily need a place to live separate from family or roommates, and also for those who are homeless.

The reimbursement guidelines authorize state and municipalities to receive a 75% reimbursement for the costs associated with providing non-congregate housing.

Stamford Together Volunteer Program

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak continues to spread, the City of Stamford is doing its part in supporting the emergency response related to the pandemic, like the new citywide volunteer program, "Stamford Together."

The program is a partnership between the Office of the Mayor and Board of Representatives President, Matthew Quinones. “Stamford Together,” is recruiting volunteers to help those in need during this critical time.

According to the website, there are five areas where volunteers are needed. Please see below:

  • Senior Outreach Program
  • SPS Grab and Go Program
  • Testing Site Volunteer Program
  • Resident Delivery Program
  • Medical Reserve Corps

You can read more details about each initiative below with volunteer sign-up links included. The Stamford Together Volunteer Phone line is 203-977-5850  and will be staffed 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please consider volunteering. Remember, we're all in this together!

Senior Outreach Program

The Senior Outreach Program will establish positive contact with the Stamford Senior population, 70 years of age or older, to ensure basic needs are being addressed: food, medicine, medical support, etc.

Stamford Together is currently seeking volunteers who can make phone calls to the targeted population. Each volunteer will be assigned to a Team and report to a Team Leader. This initiative is being organized by Volunteer Co-Directors, Robin Druckman and Lauren Meyer. To sign up to volunteer, register here.

SPS Grab and Go Program

The Stamford Public School district is providing Grab and Go Meals for anyone under the age of 18, at sites throughout the City. This program is in need of 50+ adult volunteers to hand out prepared breakfasts and lunches the week of April 6-10 during the hours of 9:45 am – 1:15 pm. In the event the scheduled provider is unable to be at their location to serve meals, volunteers may be asked to serve additional days. Volunteers will be notified by 9:00 am if they are needed that day.

This initiative is being organized by the Stamford Public Education Foundation. If you are interested in learning more about this volunteer opportunity, please CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR VOLUNTEER FORM or contact Malena Loucks at

Testing Site Volunteer Program

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the City of Stamford has launched several Testing Sites throughout the community. This initiative is being supported by volunteers from Stamford’s Community Emergency Response Team Program. There is a need to expand the number of volunteers to support the operations of this effort which include managing traffic, distributing supplies, etc.

This volunteer initiative is being led by City Representative Benjamin Lee. To register to volunteer or learn more, click here.

Resident Delivery Program

The City of Stamford seeks to ensure volunteer drivers are available to build capacity for existing food delivery service providers, while ensuring quarantined members of the community have access to all necessary supplies through a citywide delivery program. The initiative will seek to work collaboratively with existing nonprofit providers and establish any gaps in services.

The management of this effort is being organized by the United Way of Western Connecticut. If you’re interested in serving as a volunteer driver, please register here.

Medical Reserve Corps

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of community-based groups of volunteers—medical and public health professional and others—who assist their communities in activities that promote and strengthen public health, emergency response, and community resiliency. The program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals, as well as other community members without healthcare backgrounds.

For more information about MRC please follow this link,

Connecticut’s Tourism Office promotes local restaurants offering take-out and delivery services, provides virtual at-home activities.

If you are the manager of a restaurant that you think should be on this list, please contact the Connecticut Office of Tourism.

The State of Connecticut’s Tourism Office has shifted its focus from its usual promotional activities to adjust to the public health emergency and Governor Lamont’s order for residents to “Stay Safe, Stay Home.” The state’s official tourism website,, has been adapted to reflect this new reality and is featuring a number activities residents can either do in secluded locations or safely at home through virtual experiences.

This includes the creation of a list of restaurants, breweries, and vineyards that are now offering take-out and delivery services; and also a collection of online, virtual experiences about Connecticut landmarks, museums, and attractions that provide educational opportunities to engage children while staying safe at home.