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Gov. Tim Walz said over 900,000 Minnesotans have applied for the frontline worker "hero pay" to recognize their contributions during the COVID pandemic, which greatly surpasses the initial number expected.

Last month, Walz said the original expectation was around 667,000. As a result, the governor notes that the amount people could get could end up being smaller if the vast majority of those who've applied are eligible for the payouts.

The payouts were originally expected to start at $750, with no more than $1,500 being paid to Minnesotans. It remains to be seen what the payouts will exactly look like. Minnesota workers can expect to receive the money by early fall, but that again depends on how long the processing of applications will take.

However, Walz and legislators are still encouraging those who qualify to apply. Minnesotans to submit their applications by the deadline of July 22.

In April, Walz signed the frontline worker pay bill into law, splitting $500 million between applicants who meet the requirements. The bill was approved following negotiations between the DFL and GOP to recognize those who worked the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic peacetime emergency the past two years.

Those applying must have been employed at least 120 hours in one state frontline sector of work or more from March 15, 2020 to June 30, 2021. That includes the following list of jobs:

  • Building services, including maintenance, janitorial and security
  • Child care
  • Courts and corrections
  • Emergency responders
  • Food service, including production, processing, preparation, sales 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
  • Vocational rehabilitation

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