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Frontline Worker Pay

To thank those Minnesotans who worked on the frontlines during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, Gov. Tim Walz signed Frontline Worker Payments into law April 29, 2022, enabling those workers to apply for Frontline Worker Pay.

The Frontline Worker Pay application was open June 8 through July 22, 2022.

Eligibility criteria for Frontline Worker Pay are set forth in the Frontline Worker Pay law

To be eligible for Frontline Worker Pay, the applicant:

  • must have been employed at least 120 hours in Minnesota in one or more frontline sectors between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

  • for the hours worked during this time period the applicant –

    • was not able to telework due to the nature of the individual's work and

    • worked in close proximity to people outside of the individual's household;

  • must have met the income requirements for at least one year between Dec. 31, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2022 –

    • workers with direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities must have had an adjusted gross income of less than $350,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or less than $175,000 for other filers and

    • for workers in occupations without direct COVID-19 patient care responsibilities, the adjusted gross income limit is $185,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, or $85,000 for other filers; and

  • must not have received an unemployment insurance benefit payment for more than 20 weeks on a cumulative basis for weeks between March 15, 2020, and June 26, 2021 (Minnesota Statutes, section 268.085, subdivision 1, clause 6).

The frontline sectors include: 

  • long-term care and home care;

  • health care;

  • emergency responders;

  • public health, social service, and regulatory service;

  • courts and corrections;

  • child care;

  • schools, including charter schools, state schools and higher education;

  • food service, including production, processing, preparation, sale and delivery;

  • retail, including sales, fulfillment, distribution and delivery;

  • temporary shelters and hotels;

  • building services, including maintenance, janitorial and security;

  • public transit;

  • ground and air transportation services;

  • manufacturing; and

  • vocational rehabilitation.

Applications and assistance

The Frontline Worker Pay application was open June 8 through July 22, 2022. Eligible workers had 45 days to apply for Frontline Worker Pay. Applicant support is available to assist applicants in multiple languages.

Funds are not first come, first served. The money set aside for this program will be divided among all approved applicants after the 45-day application period, the application processing and verification period, the 15-day appeals period and the appeals review period.

Appeals

Submitted applications were processed and verified by the Department of Labor and Industry, Department of Employment and Economic Development, and Department of Revenue. Following processing and verification, all applicants were notified via email either that no further action was required or that their application was denied and they were eligible to submit an appeal in the following 15-day appeals period, Tuesday, Aug. 16, through Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m. (CT).

Applications may have been denied, with eligibility for appeal, for five reasons:

  1. The application has been deemed a duplicate.

  2. The applicant exceeds the unemployment insurance benefit threshold established in the law.

  3. The applicant exceeds the adjusted gross income threshold established in the law.

  4. The applicant's employment eligibility could not be verified.

  5. The applicant's identity could not be verified.

The final number of eligible applicants will be determined after the appeals period ends and all appeals have been processed.

To make an appeal

All denials were communicated by email. The email messages informing applicants their application was denied were sent Aug. 16. The email message informing the applicant of a denial was sent to the email address used to set up the applicant's account initially used to apply for Frontline Worker Pay. The email message communicating the denial contained a link to sign into the applicant's Submittable account, where the could access one or more appeal forms.

Appeal forms were online forms that must have been successfully submitted to appeal a denial decision. The information required in the appeal form depended on the reason for the denial. Each denial reason had a corresponding appeal form that could be accessed from the applicant's Submittable account.

If the applicant did not complete and successfully submit all appeal forms during the appeals period, within 15 days of the date of the denial email message, the denial will be final.

Successfully submitted appeal forms are being reviewed and a final decision will be communicated to the applicant by email. The commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry's decision on an appeal is final.

Payments

After processing and verification of the submitted applications, the application processing and verification period, the 15-day appeals period for denied applicants to contest those decisions and time for processing of the appeals, the final number of eligible applicants will be determined. The money dedicated to Frontline Worker Pay will then be divided among the final eligible applicants and those receiving payment will be notified. All applications will move through the process at the same time and payments will be forwarded for processing together. During the application process, applicants chose to receive payment via ACH direct deposit or prepaid debit card. Payments are expected in the fall of 2022.

Information for employers 

The Frontline Worker Pay law required that employers in a frontline sector provide notice by June 23, 2022, in a form approved by the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry, advising all current workers who may be eligible for Frontline Worker Pay of the assistance potentially available to them and how to apply for benefits.

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