Registered nurse KaLee Medina sets up a table at a COVID-19 vaccine pilot clinic in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Credit: Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

This story comes to you from MPR News through a partnership with Sahan Journal.

More than one million Minnesotans will get payments of about $487 each from the state this week for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials said Monday.

The money is from a pool of $500 million set aside by the Legislature and governor for bonuses to those who worked in health care, child care, retail, food processing and other professions where working from home wasn’t an option.

“These workers deserve our thanks and I’m grateful to be part of the program that gives them a token of our appreciation,” said Nicole Blissenbach, who has spearheaded the program as temporary commissioner, Department of Labor and Industry. 

The money will be sent out beginning this week in the form of direct deposit, debit cards or paper checks depending on a recipient’s preference. 

Those who choose payments through direct deposit will see funds deposited within seven to 10 business days; those who chose to receive payment via debit card will be mailed their funds within three to four weeks, according to several state agencies that collaborated on the project. 

The total number of those who proved their eligibility was 1,025,655. The program proved popular, with about 1.2 million people applying. Some had applications denied for not meeting eligibility criteria or being able to verify their status.

The final recipient pool is far higher than the 667,000 that officials projected when the Legislature passed the program in April, and therefore checks are smaller than once anticipated.

There were income limits and people couldn’t have received unemployment benefits for an extended period.