High number of applicants could shrink Minnesota’s hero pay

Published 8:50 am Thursday, July 7, 2022

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The high number of applicants for hero pay in Minnesota could translate into smaller checks.

More than 900,000 Minnesota residents have applied for bonus pay the state is doling out to people who came to work during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz said Wednesday.

While not everyone will meet eligibility requirements, state officials originally estimated a final pool of 667,000 qualified workers, or payments of about $750 apiece. There’s two weeks left to apply for the program.

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“We advocated to put more into this to make a difference,” the governor said, adding that Democrats pushed for $1 billion in payments and eventually compromised with Republicans for $500 million, the Star Tribune reported.

The Frontline Worker Pay bill covers people employed at least 120 hours in one frontline sector or more outside their households between March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

Eligible workers include those in the long-term care and home care industries, health care, the courts, child care, public schools, retail, food service, public transit and manufacturing.

“We’ve got tons of people out there that consider themselves to be an essential worker,” said Democratic Rep. Cedrick Frazier, one of the bill sponsors.

“Now we will let the process work through and we’re going to see where folks are, at the end of it.”