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We'd heard in early May that the state of Minnesota was making $500 million dollars available as bonus checks to frontline workers during the pandemic. We now know how and when you'll be able to apply for those payments.

The Minnesota legislature passed and Governor Walz signed an order in late April authorizing the state to make extra payments to those Minnesotans who worked on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. State officials said then that they were working to set up parameters on just who's eligible for those payments, how to apply, and when to expect your money.

And now, according to this TwinCities.com story, Minnesota's Department of Labor and Industry reported earlier this week that it has contracted with a vendor who's in the process of building out the application website. The state is hoping to have the site up and running and ready to start receiving applications in mid-June.

Once it's up and running (you can sign up to get email updates on the system HERE), the state says you'll have 45 days to apply for benefits if you're eligible. Officials then estimate it will take 10-12 weeks to get those bonus checks, which should start to be processed and sent out in late summer or early fall. Here's more on just who could get those special checks:

To be eligible for Frontline Worker Pay, the applicant:

  • must have worked at least 120 hours in Minnesota in one or more frontline sectors between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
  • for the hours worked during this time period the applicant –
    • was not able to telework due to the nature of the individual's work and
    • worked in close proximity to people outside of the individual's household;
  • must meet the income requirements for at least one year between Dec. 31, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2022 –
    • workers with direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities must have had an annual income of less than $350,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or less than $175,000 for other filers and
    • for workers in occupations without direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities, the annual income limit is $185,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or $85,000 for other filers; and
  • must not have received an unemployment insurance benefit payment or serve a non-payable week for more than 20 weeks on a cumulative basis for weeks between March 15, 2020, and June 26, 2021 (Minnesota Statutes, section 268.085, subdivision 1, clause 6).

The site went on to list some of the jobs/occupations that could be eligible for this special payment:

  • long-term care and home care;
  • health care;
  • emergency responders;
  • public health, social service, and regulatory service;
  • courts and corrections;
  • child care;
  • schools, including charter schools, state schools and higher education;
  • food service, including production, processing, preparation, sale and delivery;
  • retail, including sales, fulfillment, distribution and delivery;
  • temporary shelters and hotels;
  • building services, including maintenance, janitorial and security;
  • public transit;
  • ground and air transportation services;
  • manufacturing; and
  • vocational rehabilitation.

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