COVID-19 Hazard Pay in Vermont

Updated 11/24/2020 11:30 a.m.

Scam Alert: The Vermont Department of Labor (DOL) is warning Vermonters about a new scam. The email or text claims to be from the DOL offering $3,750 in “COVID-19 Benefits and Compensation” and directing people to a bogus website. This message is a scam. Do not click on any links. Do not reply to it.

The DOL will not contact you by text. If you aren't sure about a message you receive about DOL benefits, use the official DOL unemployment website to find contact information. You can call the DOL to ask about any message you aren't sure about. 

Employer deadline: Wednesday, November 18, at 12 p.m. was the deadline for eligible employers to apply for hazard pay. 

The State of Vermont has created a Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program for certain groups of employees who worked between March 13 and May 15, 2020. These employees may be able to get $1,200 or $2,000 in hazard pay through their employer.

What types of employees may be eligible?

  • Public health
  • Public safety
  • Health care
  • Human services
  • NEW: Other essential service providers and wholesale deliverers who worked in jobs that dealt with the public

See more details below.

What types of employees are not eligible?

  • State and federal employees
  • Independent contractors or self-employed Vermonters, unless they worked for ARIS
  • Vermonters who received unemployment compensation for any week between March 13 and May 15, 2020

Are there other rules?

To be eligible, an employee must have:

  1. Worked at least 68 hours for a qualifying employer between March 13 and May 15, 2020
  2. Worked at a job with an “elevated risk of exposure” to COVID-19 due to providing in-person care or services to the public, cleaning areas where potentially exposed people were, or had physical contact or close contact with the public
  3. Earned less than $25 an hour (except home health agency and nursing home staff can have higher pay)
  4. Worked for one of the eligible employers listed below:
  • Assisted Living Residences, Residential Care Homes and Therapeutic Community Residencies
  • Nursing Homes and any employer contracted by Nursing Homes to provide respiratory, physical and occupational services within the facility
  • Health care facilities including doctor’s and dentist offices
  • Home Health Agencies and any employer contracted by Home Health Agencies to provide respiratory, physical and occupational services within the facility
  • Homeless shelters
  • Federally Qualified Health Care Centers
  • Department of Children and Families licensed residential treatment programs
  • Morgues
  • Non-municipal ambulances or first responders
  • Providers of necessities and services to vulnerable or disabled populations
  • NEW:
  • Food service, janitorial and custodial staff that provided services to healthcare or residential care facilities in Vermont
  • Grocery store and pharmacy employees
  • Hardware stores and retailers serving basic human needs (such as retail that sold food, beverage, animal feed and essential supplies) that were open to the public for in-person sales
  • Wholesale deliverers to Essential Service providers, grocery stores, pharmacies, food services, cleaning and or janitorial services and certain other retailers (see above) 
  • Trash collectors, waste management and septic services as well as privately owned wastewater pollution abatement and control facilities
  • Funeral homes and crematoriums 
  • Licensed security providers 
  • Licensed child care providers that provided care for the children of essential workers 
  • Vocational rehab employees 
  • Security service agencies that provided security services to other covered employers
  • Lodging establishments that housed homeless individuals during the eligible period 
  • Traveling nurse and nurse contracting agencies that provided services to healthcare or residential care facilities in Vermont

How much hazard pay can I get?

If you worked between 68 and 216 hours between March 13 and May 15, 2020 you may get a grant of $1,200.

If you worked at least 216 hours you may get a grant of $2,000.

I worked the total amount of qualifying hours at two or more employers. Can I still receive hazard pay? 

You can receive hazard pay if you had more than one place of employment. However, to qualify you must have worked a minimum of 68 hours for a single employer.

How do I apply?

Your employer must apply for you. Ask your employer if they know about hazard pay and if they are willing to apply on your behalf.

The application process reopened on October 28. You can sign up to receive email updates by following this link. Wednesday, November 18, at 12 p.m. is the deadline for eligible employers to apply. 

When can my employer apply?

The first application period ("round one") started August 4, 2020. 

The second application period ("round two") began on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at 9 a.m. Grants will be awarded through an online application process and funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Wednesday, November 18, at 12 p.m. is the deadline for eligible employers to apply. 

Where can I get more information and the application?

Find more information about the hazard pay program on the Department of Vermont Health Access website.

I am a home health worker paid by ARIS, but they are not my employer. Can I still get hazard pay?

Yes, ARIS Solutions has the authority to apply for a grant in the same manner as a covered employer. ARIS Solutions may apply for grant funding for independent direct support providers who have worked enough hours and had elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19.

My employer will not apply for hazard pay on my behalf. Can I apply on my own?

Only covered employers may apply for a hazard pay grant to disburse hazard pay to their employees. At this time, there is no other grant opportunity for which Vermonters can apply on their own behalf. Covered employers also have the responsibility of determining which of their employees are eligible and attesting to employee eligibility on the application.

My employer says they cannot apply for the hazard pay program because they applied for and received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Is this true? 

No. Your employer may apply for funds to distribute from both the PPP and the Hazard Pay Grant Program.

I was working in an eligible position between the dates of March 13 and May 15, but I’ve since left that job. Can I still get hazard pay?

In most instances only current employees are eligible for hazard pay. However, if your former employer applied on your behalf before you left the position, they may be able to distribute hazard pay to you.

Former employees (who were previously employed by either an employer that applied for grant funding in round one of the program or an employer applying for funding in round two of the program) are eligible for hazard pay in round two. The grant review team will contact employers that applied for funding in round one of the program to identify eligible former employees. 

How does the state know I was an eligible former employee? 

Each covered employer must certify that they have included all former employees in their application. The State of Vermont will try to contact every approved eligible former employee whose name has been provided.   

Unfortunately hazard pay can only be provided if your former employer named you on their list of eligible workers.

I worked for a covered employer in an appropriate essential service role but have not received any information from the state. What should I do? 

If you believe you should be included on a covered employer's application, first contact your former employer. You may also contact the Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program with questions at hazardpayapplication@vermont.gov

I am a former employee. Is my personal hazard pay application deadline November 18, 2020?

You should receive an independent deadline that may be after the November 18 deadline.

I heard that grocery store workers, delivery people and childcare providers would be able to get hazard pay. Is this true?

Yes. The list of qualifying employers has changed and now grocery store, pharmacy, qualifying delivery people and licensed childcare employers may apply for hazard pay.

I got unemployment benefits last spring. Can I still get hazard pay?

Yes. Employees who received one week or less of unemployment benefits during the eligible period are eligible for hazard pay in round two of the program.

Will hazard pay affect my public benefits?

Receiving hazard pay could affect public benefits that are based on your income.

Contact the Office of the Health Care Advocate at Vermont Legal Aid about how your hazard pay may impact your health care benefits, including Medicaid. Call 1-800-917-7787 with any health care questions.

Hazard pay will not affect your eligibility for these benefits from the Economic Services Division of Vermont's Department for Children and Families:

  • Reach Up, Reach Ahead, Reach First, Post Secondary Education Program
  • General Assistance
  • Essential Person
  • Child Care Financial Assistance Program
  • Fuel Assistance

You should report the pay (call 1-800-479-6151), but it will not affect your benefits.

If you participate in the 3SquaresVT program (food stamps), you should report the hazard pay to the Economic Services Division of the Department for Children and Families (call 1-800-479-6151). For most people, the hazard pay will not affect your benefits. Did you have to pass a resource test to get 3SquaresVT? If you did, hazard pay counts as a resource the month you get it. What if you did not have to pass a resource test? Then hazard pay does not count as income for 3SquaresVT. You can contact us if you have questions.

Most benefits should not be reduced. If they are, you can ask for a fair hearing. 

Contact us at Legal Services Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid for help. Call 1-800-889-2047 or fill out our Legal Help Request form.

What if I do not want to get this hazard pay?

Tell your employer you do not want it. You have the right to turn it down.

More information

A webinar on Monday, October 26, 2020 at 3 p.m. will give an overview of the program and answer questions from employers and employees about eligibility, application process and timing of payments. See the Department of Vermont Health Access website for details.

Updated: Nov 24, 2020