October 15 Newsletter: Unemployment Benefits & More

October 15, 2021
We are constantly working to provide updates and important news as it develops over social media and by email. This is a recap of some of this week’s highlights.

For more information about the state's response efforts visit ct.gov/coronavirus. To receive text message notifications, sign up for CTAlert, the state’s emergency alert system. To subscribe, text "COVIDCT" to 888-777.


National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Did you know October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month? National Disability Employment Awareness Month began in 1945 to highlight the contributions of people with disabilities to the workforce and to raise awareness of the inequities they face. 

As our state continues to bounce back from the pandemic, it is critical that all individuals in our community have access to employment opportunities. Ensuring that everyone has the necessary employment resources benefits both individual families and our state as a whole. 

In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Connecticut Department of Labor and Department of Aging and Disability Services have announced that Connecticut’s 9th annual Disability Employment Resource Fair will be held on October 22.

The fair will be a virtual event this year. The presentation will include information about resources such as free employment services, transportation, legal rights, assistive technology, education and more!

To register for the fair please click here.

ASL Interpreters will be provided and a PowerPoint of the event will be sent out to all attendees following the event. If you need large print or a Word document, please contact Jill Larmett at jlarmett@capitalworkforce.org
In addition to the annual Disability Employment Resource Fair, assistance for jobseekers is available virtually and in-person, including at:

  • The Connecticut Department of Labor’s American Job Centers (appointments are recommended). More information is available at portal.ct.gov/ajc.
  • CTHires, which serves as a one-stop resource to search for jobs, create a resume, and find training. More information is available at portal.ct.gov/cthires.
  • Additional job fair that are scheduled frequently across the state. For a full schedule, visit portal.ct.gov/AJC/recruitmentevents.

Please take a moment this month to recognize the strides we have made in disability employment, and all the work we have left to accomplish. 


Unemployment Benefits Overpayment Waiver

The Connecticut Department of Labor has recently reported that around 13,000 unemployment benefit recipients received overpayments throughout the pandemic. These claims constitute about $30 million in accidental overpayments. It is important to note that while this amount looks daunting, most of these overpayments were caused by simple errors at little to no fault of the claimant.
Since the announcement, many of you have reached out with concerns about overpayments and are wondering, "will I have to pay this money back?"
The short answer is, not necessarily. You may qualify for a non-fraud overpayment waiver.

What is a waiver?
A waiver forgives part, or all, of the overpayment debt accrued by an unemployment claimant.

Overpayment may be eligible for a waiver if:

  • There was an unintentional error on the part of the claimant, employer, or CTDOL.
  • There was no attempt to obtain unemployment benefits to which the claimant knew they were not eligible (fraud).
  • The Employment Security Appeals Division reverses a decision to grant unemployment benefits and that leaves the claimant with an overpayment debt.

Can I get a waiver?
Waivers will be considered for accidental overpayments only. CTDOL notifies claimants that they may be eligible for a waiver during the pre-determination process and sends a questionnaire that the claimant fills out and returns. Most waivers are granted for:

  • A mental or physical condition which would significantly reduce opportunity for employment.
  • An error on the part of CTDOL or the Appeals Division.
  • Claimant bankruptcy.
  • Economic grounds when it’s against equity and good conscience to have an overpayment repaid.

The questionnaire and hearing request must be completed and returned together to CTDOL within 14 days of the mail date (this is on the upper right corner of the pre-determination letter.) 
What if I didn’t get a questionnaire with my pre-determination letter?
If you didn’t receive a waiver questionnaire, this means CTDOL claims you may not be eligible for one. If you believe this is not correct and that you are eligible for a waiver based on the criteria above, you are encouraged to reach out to the Consumer Contact Center with questions.
Please also remember that you can reach out to me if you need any assistance moving forward with this process, I will do all I can to help.


Fines for Distracted Driving Increased

As life starts to return to normal and the holidays arrive, many of us will be back on the road again. More time on the road means more opportunities for distracted driving. As of October 1, penalties for texting and driving increased in an effort to stop distracted driving.

Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of accidents on our roads, with nearly 5,000 crashes attributed to distracted driving in Connecticut in 2020 alone.

Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device at any time, even with a hands-free accessory.

The new fines for driving while distracted are:

  • For the first violation, offenders are fined $200 (was previously $150)
  • For a second violation, offenders are fined $375 (was previously $300)
  • For a third or subsequent violation, offenders are fined $625 (was previously $500)

Throughout the month of October, state and local police will be increasing enforcement of the new distracted driving law.

Please urge your family and friends to put their cell phones away while driving. No text message or phone call is worth putting yourself and others at risk.

For more information, visit www.distraction.gov.