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More than 28,000 apply for Minnesota pandemic bonuses on the first day of applications

The state opened the online portal Wednesday for front-line workers to apply for $750 checks from Minnesota. The deadline to apply is July 22.

MNA President Mary Turner
Minnesota Nurses Association President Mary Turner on Monday, May 2, 2022, speaks to reporters during a news conference on a $3.4 billion law that would send checks out to front-line workers.
Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service
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ST. PAUL — Tens of thousands of pandemic workers on Wednesday, June 8, signed up for hero payments within the first few hours of Minnesota's rollout of an online application form.

The Department of Labor and Industry reported that roughly 28,500 Minnesotans signed up for the benefit within the first three hours of the site's launch. Officials also said that they'd worked with a vendor to "identify and apply fixes" after the high demand caused some hiccups in the application process. Applicants said they weren't able to save after submitting documents confirming their work history in the online form.

Department heads reminded eligible Minnesotans that they'd have a 45-day window to apply for the bonus payment and applicants can sign up through https://frontlinepay.mn.gov/submit . They can also call 866-333-7633 for help resolving problems or submitting an application.

"The program is not first-come, first-served, so an application on day one is just as good as an application on day 10, day 20 and day 30," department leaders said.

Earlier this year lawmakers approved the $500 million plan to send out money to about 667,000 health care workers, meat packers, janitors, teachers and others who worked in person when the threat of contracting COVID-19 was the highest.

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The Minnesota Legislature closed out the 2021 legislative session Monday afternoon with a framework to finish and a lot of policy questions unresolved.

The ultimate total for each of the checks will depend on how many people apply and meet the state's criteria. Lawmakers estimated that front-line workers would get $750 each if all those who they thought were eligible applied. But that could grow up to a total of $1,500 for each person if the pool of applicants is smaller. Employers were required to notify current employees who could be eligible for the funds.

Workers whose applications are denied will have a 15-day window to appeal and following that process, the group of all eligible Minnesotans will be finalized and hero checks will be sent out in one wave.

Eligible employees had to have worked 120 hours between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021, and not have drawn down unemployment benefits for more than 20 weeks. The state also set an income cap of $85,000 for individual filers who did not work directly with COVID-19 patients to be eligible. Those who worked with COVID-19 patients could receive the checks if they make $175,000 or less a year.

MORE FROM DANA FERGUSON:
Several incumbent state legislators, particularly in the Senate, edged out competitors with more extreme views on COVID-19, election security and more.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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