Front-line worker bonus pay applicants now top 901,000

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When the Minnesota Legislature finally agreed to a front-line worker bonus pay plan, lawmakers anticipated 667,000 workers would be eligible for slices of the $500 million pool of money. The individual checks were anticipated to total about $750. Now the only number that for sure will not change is the $500 million bonus pool.

“I’m glad to report today that over 901,000 Minnesotans have applied,” Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday at a State Capitol news conference during which he encouraged workers to keep applying even though payments could drop from the estimated $750 to about $500 or less. “I’m here to try to get as many people as possible with the understanding that that will lower the payment for individuals, but these families need this. It is a thank you.”

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There are about 20 job categories that qualify for bonus pay, including maintenance, janitorial, security, child care, nursing home and retail workers, public transit, health care workers and many others. Within those categories, there are also income thresholds and requirements that recipients had to report to work in person.

“We want people to apply if they believe they are eligible, and I think that’s the message here today,” said Nicole Blissenbach, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. “Have people apply. We will run our verification checks, and communication will go out to people as to whether they’ve been denied.”

Online applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on July 22. Then the state will begin notifying workers if they’ve been accepted for payment or denied. Then there will be a 15-day period during which workers can appeal their denial. So it will be several weeks before state officials reveal the total number of eligible workers and how much money they’ll receive.

Coffee shop worker Kasey Copeland appeared at the news conference with the governor and said she’s just happy the state will reward front-line workers.

“They saw our dedication, our hard work and sacrifice,” she said. “The risks that we took.”