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Front-line workers can start applying for $750 hero paychecks next month

Roughly 667,000 Minnesotans could receive the checks if they apply. And the state expected to start sending them out beginning in September.

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St. Luke’s Emergency Department Registered Nurse Josh Solberg disinfects a workstation in the monoclonal antibody clinic where patients with COVID-19 are treated. He recently spoke about what it’s been like being on the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)
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ST. PAUL — Minnesota front-line workers can start applying for hero pay checks from the state starting next month, the Department of Labor and Industry said this week.

The department on Tuesday, May 24, said it would open the application portal beginning June 8 and would leave it open through July 22. Eligible front-line workers could then expect to see their checks sent beginning September 5, according to the department.

Lawmakers approved and the governor signed into law a $500 million plan to send funds out to those who remained on the job in person during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal also repaid the federal government for a loan to the state's unemployment insurance fund and replenished that fund, a move that will refund higher tax rates to employers.

Under the law, roughly 667,000 front-line workers could stand to see $750 bonus checks. Eligible employees would include health care workers, teachers, meatpackers, corrections officers, first responders, grocery store workers and several others.

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Eligible employees would have had to work 120 hours between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021, and not have drawn down unemployment benefits for more than 20 weeks.

There would also be 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.

Department leaders urged workers to sign up for news about the application process at frontlinepay.mn.gov.

MORE FROM DANA FERGUSON:
Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš met with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz Wednesday ahead of a six-day Latvian song and dance festival in St. Paul.

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

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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