A backlog of applications for Connecticut’s new paid FMLA program has been cleared, according to the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority and Aflac, which administers claims. 

The Associated Press reported that the two organizations said the near 4,000-claim backlog was, in part, sparked by the COVID-19 omicron variant. 

Officials said in one month the authority received more than 10,000 applications alone.

“It did take some time to work through that pool,” the authority’s executive director Andrea Barton Reeves said. 

“But as of the ninth [of June] it is completely resolved and now we are just dealing with pending claims that are 30 days from leave or fewer.”

Some applicants waited as long as six weeks for a decision about whether they were eligible for financial aid for their leave over the past few months. 

System Upgrades 

Reeves said more than half of the COVID-related claims were denied. 

A diagnosis of COVID-19 does not always translate to a serious health condition under the statute

Aflac said it invested more resources to help process the applications, including bringing on more staff and technology. 

Paid leave authority officials said more than half of the claims related to COVID-19 were denied.

“Our all-new Connecticut based team were struggling with the same pandemic as individuals and as the heads of family, while administering a new program,” said Aflac senior vice president of premier life, absence, and disability solutions Scott Beeman. 

“They were immediately challenged by their own learning curve and getting through high volumes of claims requests for return calls.”

Beeman admitted the system will always have a backlog of claims as the process continues to develop, but does not expect it to be as high as it was. 

To date, the Associated Press reports that more than 44,000 applications have been filed with more than $86 million in benefits issued.