11 May 2022
MINNEAPOLIS – More than one in 10 Minnesotans will qualify for a $750 check from the state for working during the pandemic.
It’s known as Frontline Worker Pay or “Hero Pay.”
So who is eligible and what are the requirements?
The list of requirements for Minnesota’s Frontline Worker Pay is fairly simple.
You must have worked at least 120 hours from March 15, 2020, to June 30, 2021, in one more or more frontline jobs.
The job must not have had a virtual option, such as work from home. And you had to potentially be around people not from your house.
“I worked from Monday to Friday every day,” said Nagbe Nyamplu about the early days of the pandemic.
Then there’s the income cap. If you were involved with direct COVID-19 patient care, like nurses, the income cap is $175,000 for those filing taxes individually and $350,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly in 2020 or 2021.
For those who didn’t work with direct COVID-19 patient care, the income cap is $85,000 for those filing individually or $185,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.
Unemployment is another factor involved. If you meet the previous requirements but you also received unemployment benefits for a total of 20 weeks or more during the specific time period, you are not eligible for Hero Pay.
So which jobs are eligible? Healthcare workers immediately come to mind but the frontlines of the pandemic is a long list:
1. building services, including maintenance, janitorial and security
2. child care
3. courts and corrections
4. emergency responders
5. food service, including production, processing, preparation, sale, and delivery
6. ground and air transportation services
7. health care
8. long-term care and home care
10. public health, social service and regulatory service
11. public transit
12. retail, including sales, fulfillment, distribution and delivery
13. schools, including charter schools, state schools and higher education
14. temporary shelters and hotels
15. vocational rehabilitation
The state estimates 667,000 Minnesotans are eligible for hero pay. The payout would be $750 if every single person applied, however, the payout would get higher if fewer people sign up.
What would $750 mean to you?
“Good rent money, that’s for sure,” said James Yang who worked at Office Depot.
“I guess the recognition of what we went through,” said Daniel Lord, a route salesman for Old Dutch Foods.
He remembers changing his clothes in the garage after a day’s work to make sure the virus wouldn’t get into his home.
“My wife’s got COPD. I was worried about her getting (COVID). You didn’t know what you were up against really,” he said.
Alexandrea Simmons is a CNA and PCA who works for Minnesota Masonic Homes. She and other healthcare workers still put themselves at risk every day of coming into contact with the virus.
“(Wearing) PPE, gearing up, going in different rooms, dealing with people who are sick, not knowing if you’re bringing that back home,” she said. “You just keep going out and trying to help people.”
The application process has not started yet, but it should in the next few weeks. You can register your email address to get alerts at frontlinepay.mn.gov.
You’ll have 45 days to apply once it opens up.