Frontline pay application period open, program launch plagued by technical issues

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UPDATE: State officials say they, as well as a vendor, have applied fixes to the Frontline Worker Pay program after applicants reported issues Wednesday morning as the program launched.

According to the state, capacity issues arose due to the program’s high demand and popularity after it was launched at 8 a.m. Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) Communications Director James Honerman said the department was working with its vendor to add capacity so more people could log in and make their way through application sections.

As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, the state reported about 28,500 applications had been submitted; that number had jumped to 78,500 by 1 p.m., and continues to rise.

Applicants who are still experiencing issues can refresh their browser if they’re in the identity verification section and it is lagging. Or, they can save the application and return to it within the 45-day period the program is available.

The program isn’t first-come, first-served, according to the state.

Minnesota lawmakers approved $500 million for the frontline bonus checks. Around 667,000 Minnesotans are expected to be eligible for the payments. However, to get the bonus, eligible frontline workers have to apply between June 8 and July 22.

RELATED: Walz signs unemployment insurance, frontline worker bill into law

Workers from sectors ranging from health care to food service, public transit and manufacturing services are eligible for the checks, as long as they worked at least 120 hours between March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021, couldn’t work remotely, worked close to others, didn’t get any unemployment insurance benefits for more than 20 weeks during the peacetime emergency and doesn’t exceed the income cap.

Those sectors, specifically, include:

  • Building services, including maintenance, janitorial and security;
  • Child care;
  • Courts and corrections;
  • Emergency responders;
  • Food service, including production, processing, preparation, sale and delivery;
  • Ground and air transportation services;
  • Health care;
  • Long-term care and home care;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Public health, social service and regulatory service;
  • Public transit;
  • Retail, including sales, fulfillment, distribution and delivery;
  • Schools, including charter schools, state schools and higher education;
  • Temporary shelters and hotels; and
  • Vocational rehabilitation

After applications are processed, workers can appeal a denial within 15 days. Then, the final list of eligible applicants will get an equal payment. Lawmakers said the checks are expected to be around $750 but can’t exceed $1,500.

The state says payments are expected to be made in September.

For more details about who is eligible for the checks, CLICK HERE.

Those who need assistance with filing, have questions, or are not able to access the webpage can call the Minnesota Frontline Worker Pay Program hotline at 866-333-7633. Emailing for support is also an option.

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