Great news arrived recently for Minnesota's frontline workers recently when Governor Tim Walz signed a bill, passed by the Minnesota Legislature, that provides bonus pay for eligible COVID-19 frontline workers.

While Gov. Walz officially signed Frontline Worker Payments into law on April 29, 2022, there are still lingering questions as to who is eligible and how the payment process works. The State of Minnesota has provided some clarity on the entire process.

This clarity came in the form of a Minnesota Frontline Worker Pay website, which currently states that they are currently working on the online application system. When their system is ready to accept applications, all eligible workers will have 45 days to apply for Frontline Worker Pay.

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The goal is to have this application process ready by mid-June, for the 45-day application period to begin, with payments anticipated in late summer or early fall. Each eligible applicant will be provided with an equal payment, not to exceed $1,500.

The big question is which frontline worker sectors are eligible to receive payments? According to the State of Minnesota, there are many eligible sectors and they include:

  • 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
  • Vocational rehabilitation

Those working in those frontline sectors must then meet the following criteria to be eligible for Frontline Worker Pay:

  • Must have been employed 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 December 31, 2019, and January 1, 2022. Workers with direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities must have had an adjusted gross income of less than $350,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or less than $175,000 for other filers. For workers in occupations without direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities, the adjusted gross income limit is $185,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or $85,000 for other filers.
  • Must not have received an unemployment insurance benefit payment 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 best thing to do is to visit the Minnesota Frontline Worker Pay information page to get full, updated information. You can also visit that page to sign up to receive updates so you'd know exactly when the application process has begun.

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