Frontline Workers Can Apply Now For COVID Bonus

Minnesotans who worked in many patient care and public contact jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic have until July 22 to apply for the state’s version of a “thank-you.”The Frontline Worker Pay Program opened on Wednesday (June 8) to reward employees of businesses or non-profits, such as hospitals with grants as large as $1,500.

Under a law signed by Gov. Tim Walz on April 29, the numbers of applications will determine the sizes of payments. To be eligible, employees must have been working in various “frontline sectors” of industry for 120 hours during Minnesota’s COVID emergency, between March 15, 2020, and June 30, 2021. Those industries are listed on an information sheet at a special Web site:

In short, the requirements involve public contact. Employees must have had to work in close proximity of people they contacted. How close? Program information defines the distance as 6 feet.

Work with anyone living in the employee’s own household is not eligible for the Frontline pay. In addition, the program specifically excludes work by any employee who had the option to telework by computer, telephone or other devices, whether or not they actually did. their jobs that way.

To receive a payment, workers must qualify by income. For 2020 or 2021– they can use either tax year – workers with direct patient care contact can earn as much as $175,000 a year for a single filer. The ceiling is $350,000 for a married worker filing a joint return. Employees working in other frontline jobs must have earned less than $85,000 in one of those years, or $185,000 if married and filing jointly.

Here is one important note: Applicants must be payroll employees of a business. Independent contractors and sole proprietors are not eligible for Frontline Worker payments.Other details are provided in a Frequently Asked Questions available at

There also is a helpful Web site called Frontline Worker Pay Tool Kit at The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, which runs the program, estimates that workers should start receiving payments in early fall.

From a tax perspective, Frontline Worker pay is not subject to state income tax in Minnesota. The state law specifically exempted it. However, that’s not true for federal tax. The extra money must be declared as income on federal tax returns for 2022.

For specific guidance about your taxes, contact Eric Buechler at EricJohn Ltd. He is an enrolled agent recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.