(The Center Square) – Minnesota is paying out $500 million to recognize 1,025,655 Minnesota frontline workers for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Labor and Industry announced this week. The state sent initial payments on Wednesday and will continue to process them through the fall, a news release said.
The workers will each receive $487.45. State officials had earlier projected that there would be about 667,000 applicants, who could receive $750.
Gov. Tim Walz signed the Frontline Worker Pay bill April 29.
Under the law, applicants had to meet certain requirements to receive a payment. Those requirements included working close to individuals outside their household for at least 120 hours in at least one frontline sector from March 15, 2020, to June 30, 2021, in Minnesota, without the option to telework due to the nature of their work. Applications were open from June 8 through July 22. The state processed nearly 1.2 million submitted applications. Denied applicants had the opportunity to appeal from Aug. 16 to Aug. 31, and the state processed appeals. Decisions are final.
Each applicant received an equal share of the $500 million Frontline Worker Pay appropriation, the department said in an FAQ document. Payments were rounded down to the nearest nickel. The remaining $44,470 in the Frontline Worker Pay Program will be held in reserve so that the funds would be available in case an issue were to occur during funds distribution.
Applicants who requested payment via ACH direct deposit should see the payment within seven to 10 days. ReliaCard debit cards, the alternative payment option, will be mailed out within three to four weeks, the release said. The department will provide legislators with a report within 90 days of the end of the payment processing.
“I’m grateful for the work Minnesotans did to help people across our state stay healthy and safe through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Tim Walz said in the release. “Frontline workers are an important part of the fabric of our state and helped us continue functioning during the pandemic. Now, I’m proud to say these workers will receive $487.45 in recognition from the State of Minnesota.”
The department administered the program, partnering with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Minnesota Department of Revenue and Minnesota IT Services. They contracted with an application management vendor.
“All across the state, Minnesota’s frontline workers kept our state moving forward during a period of uncertainty deeper than any of us have ever experienced,” House Labor, Workforce, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Rob Ecklund, DFL-International Falls, said. “These payments recognize the sacrifices of workers who came to work every day despite knowing they faced increased risks to their own health. We’re grateful for their dedication.”
Applicants who requested ACH direct deposit can contact the Frontline Worker Pay applicant support center at [email protected] or 866-333-7633 if they have questions. Workers who requested the ReliaCard debit card can contact U.S. Bank at 855-282-6161 or usbankreliacard.com.