MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  The state says it’s stepping in to help hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who will likely be out of work due to the outbreak.

We looked into the steps to take to file for unemployment benefits.

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The National Restaurant Association says there are nearly 200,000 eating and drinking-place jobs in Minnesota. That doesn’t include workers at theaters, fitness centers and now retail stores temporarily closing their doors.

It’s why the state has no real projections just how many people will apply for benefits.

At a press conference Monday, the Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove explained how an executive order will speed the process up, the typical week-long waiting period to access benefits is waived.

“The most immediate lever we have to address this crisis is the state’s unemployment insurance program,” Grove said.

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Some workers will have sick leave as an option which the state says will likely pay you more. Unemployment benefits cover about half or your wages up to a maximum of $740 per week. The state wants you to start the process online. Click here to begin.

The first thing you’ll see is a coronavirus update on the page and questions answered like if you’re temporarily laid off, unable to work because your children are out of school, or you took a voluntary layoff. Are you eligible for benefits?

Once you determine if you are it’s easy. Register for a log-in, plug in your personal information and work history. It will likely take a week to hear back and a couple more to get paid.

“The core goal of unemployment insurance is to help those who have to leave work through no fault of their own, and if there was ever a time through no fault of their own it is a global pandemic.” Grove said.

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If you do need to talk to someone a representative is available Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • Twin Cities area: 651-296-3644
  • Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090;
  • TTY users: 1-866-814-1252

Liz Collin