Hero Checks Coming to MN's Frontline Workers
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Minnesota's frontline workers are getting a "thank you" from the state in the form of pandemic bonus checks. Within the next month, those eligible will be able to apply for the one-time payments.
On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz held a ceremony to sign off on the plan. $500 million will be shared among more than 650,000 individuals, including health-care staff, corrections officers, grocery store employees and other essential workers.
They're expected to receive $750 each. Brian MacNeill is a behavior analyst at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis.
He said it was very challenging at the onset of the crisis.
"Protective equipment wasn't as readily available," said MacNeill. "We were coming to work in cloth masks. We didn't yet have eye protection."
He said his team strives to provide one-on-one care for veterans. That brought extra stress about potentially getting them sick while staff carried out their mission.
The deal also replenishes the state's unemployment insurance fund. A final plan was held up due to disagreements in the Legislature about the size of the bonus checks, along with which workers should be eligible.
The state is working with a vendor to establish an online portal for eligible workers to apply. In the meantime, MacNiell - who also is a member of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees - said it's incredible to see the recognition come through.
"It took so many people to keep this state open, to keep it going," said MacNeill, "even to bring it to the surplus that we're now facing and have as the state of Minnesota."
Coming into the current legislation session, Minnesota had a projected $9 billion surplus.
As for the bonus checks, income caps and other forms of verification will be required for workers to receive the payments.
They're urged to monitor details on a state website - frontlinepay.mn.gov - for updates on when they can apply. Officials say it could take a few months for the checks to arrive.
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