Nearly 1.2 million apply for 'hero pay'

A group of people wearing masks talk to each other.
Nurse Andrew Dennis (left) works a shift Wednesday, Dec. 8 inside the intensive care unit at the St. Cloud Hospital. The Major is part of a 22-member emergency response team from the Department of Defense assisting the staff at the St. Cloud Hospital which has been overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News | 2021

Almost twice as many people have applied for pandemic hero bonuses as Minnesota officials once expected would qualify.

As the deadline ran out Friday afternoon nearly 1.2 million applications were submitted— 1,199,512 to be exact— according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

The state set aside $500 million in frontline worker pay available to people in more than a dozen job fields – from health care workers to custodians.

That means if everyone who applied ended up getting a bonus they'd get about $400 each. But officials say it's likely that not everyone who applied will be eligible after verification steps are completed.

The bonus checks will be equal in size once the pool of recipients is ultimately determined.

Before the application window opened in June, state officials predicted about 667,000 people would get a check. 

Those whose applications are denied will have a chance to appeal.

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