This State is Offering $10,000 For You to Move There — If…

What thoughts come to your head when you think of the state of Vermont? Maple syrup? Green mountains? Fishing along a lazy river? Skiing down a pristine slope of virgin snow?

Doing business may not be the first thought of the minds of most people pertaining to Vermont — and supporters of a rather unique and innovative program are betting to change that with a financial incentive as an effort to address a challenge with the small and aging population of almost 630,000 residents. Only the state of Wyoming has fewer people in the United States.

This State is Offering $10,000 For You to Move There — If…

You are potentially eligible for up to $10,000.00 if you have moved to Vermont after Tuesday, January 1, 2019 as long as the full-time job with which you are employed — whose company has its domicile, headquarters or primary place of business outside of Vermont — has you perform the majority of your employment duties remotely from a home office or co-working space in Vermont; has incurred qualified remote worker expenses; are at least 18 years of age; and are eligible to work in the United States.

The Remote Worker Grant Program of Vermont program was created by the Vermont Legislature with a bill which was signed into law by the governor of the state on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 in an attempt to attract workers to the potential opportunities in the state. If that is not enough, the Stay to Stay weekends program attempts to address most of the as many as 13 million visitors per year who typically think of the Green Mountain State as a place to go on vacation and not to live — as they arrive for a fishing trip or a weekend of snow skiing — by inviting weekend visitors to extend their stays and look for spaces in which they can co-work while simultaneously meeting with young professionals, community leaders, employers and realtors.

Applicants are eligible to receive reimbursement for the full amount of their qualifying expenses, up to the maximum amount of $5,000.00 per year and subject to availability of funds. The current application process of 2019 is for one year only; and there is a limit of one Remote Worker Grant per household per year. A new application will be available for 2020 through which another $5,000.00 may become available.

Once all of the program funding for 2019 — totaling $500,000.00 — has been awarded, no further grants will be awarded until 2020, when new funding will be available. Applicants who submit a completed application but do not receive a grant in 2019 because funding is no longer available are eligible to apply again for the grant on or after Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

Criteria to Become Eligible

The criteria outlined below will be used to determine eligibility for the Remote Worker Grant Program. Applicants must meet all criteria to be eligible.

  1. New remote worker must be an individual who is a full-time employee as defined by the employer, who receives a W-2 form from their employer and is employed by a business with its domicile or primary place of business outside of Vermont.
  2. New remote worker must become a full-time resident of Vermont on or after Tuesday, January 1, 2019.
  3. New remote worker must perform the majority of their employment duties remotely from a home office or co-working space in Vermont.
  4. New remote worker must have incurred qualifying remote worker expenses. “Qualifying Remote Worker Expenses” is defined as actual costs a new remote worker incurred for relocation to Vermont and/or one or more of the following that are necessary to perform their employment duties that are not already reimbursed by the employer: computer software or hardware, broadband access or upgrade, membership in a co-working or similar space.
  5. New remote workers may be eligible to receive a reimbursement grant upon receipt by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development of the Remote Worker Grant Program application with documentation supporting the qualifying expenses and proof of residency. Applications must be received complete and error free to be eligible.

How to Apply For the Program

Follow these three steps to apply for the Remote Worker Grant Program if you are interested.

  1. The Remote Worker Grant Program application has two parts. Complete Part A: EMPLOYEE, including all requested information in the Applicant Information, Eligibility, Proof of Residency, and Qualifying Remote Worker Expenses sections of the application.
  2. Provide the entire application — Parts A and B — to your employer and ask them to complete Part B: EMPLOYER and return the completed application to you as the employee.
  3. Submit your complete application via e-mail message to remoteworker@vermont.gov. A completed application must include:
    • Part A: EMPLOYEE, including signature
    • Part B: EMPLOYER, including signature
    • Documentation required for Proof of Residency — see Section 3 of Part A: EMPLOYEE
    • Documentation of Qualifying Remote Worker Expenses — see Section 4 of Part A: EMPLOYEE

Additional Information

Please refer to the frequently asked questions as a place to start if you need further information and details about the Remote Worker Grant Program — as well as the application form. Please read all the materials to determine whether you are eligible to apply for the program. If you still have additional questions, please send an e-mail message to remoteworker@vermont.gov.

Be aware that only a limited amount of funding is available for the Remote Worker Grant Program; and that acceptance is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applicants who submit a complete application free of errors, the subsequent survey, and a completed W-9 form will be eligible to receive grants. Applicants whose applications are received and confirmed complete and eligible first will receive grants until all the funding allocated for 2019 has been awarded.

Summary

I have been to Vermont several times. It is a nice state with rolling green hills, winding rivers and plenty of natural beauty and that unmistakeable New England ambience; and I would certainly visit again — I might even consider moving there if the incentives were appealing enough — but considering how cold the air is right now, that is a major disadvantage. At the time this article was written, the temperature in Burlington was -12 degrees Fahrenheit — with a wind chill of -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a frequent flier, international air travel — and even domestic travel within the United States at times — may not be the most convenient. The busiest airport is in Burlington; and you are not exactly going to find nonstop flights to Paris or Singapore or Buenos Aires or Sydney or Johannesburg. You may either have to drive to — or connect in — cities such as Boston, New York, or Montréal to go onward to other destinations. If you are not near Burlington, keep in mind that many of the roads are only two lanes wide — one lane in each direction — throughout the mostly forested state; and just getting to Burlington may be a chore in and of itself. Inclement weather — especially during the winter months — can further increase the difficulty of traveling by airplane frequently.

However, there is some good news: both Burlington International Airport and Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport — which are the two largest airports in the state — are growing.

If $10,000.00 is not enough of an incentive to move to Vermont, perhaps you would rather attempt to secure a house for free in Japan or have $10,000.00 plus a housing stipend and free desk space to motivate you to move to Tulsa — but owning a castle in Italy for free is unfortunately out of the question and no longer possible at this time.

Source: Think Vermont.

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