Ever since the $2.2 trillion stimulus package (CARES Act) passed a couple of weeks ago, that $1,200 check hasn’t been the only thing on the mind of Minnesotans.

With nearly 350,000 people applying for unemployment statewide since March 16 — 120,000 more than in all of last year combined — many are wondering when that extra $600 of unemployment is going to kick in.

Answer? Soon-ish.

According to Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove, the state is still “waiting on guidance from the federal government” regarding the extra $600 per week.

That said, the process is firmly in motion after Gov. Tim Walz passed an executive order on Monday, April 6, that allows the state to officially start issuing those additional funds whenever the federal government gives the word.

“That doesn’t mean that starting on Tuesday that we will be issuing those payments,” Grove cautioned. “We are having conversations daily with (U.S. Department Of Labor) and as soon as they provide us that guidance we will be set to issue those payments. We are moving as quickly as we can on that.”

Aside from DEED working to process payments, it is also making a concerted effort to ramp up its ability to answer questions via phone.

You can contact the state’s unemployment office with questions at 877-898-9090 in the Greater Minnesota area and 651-296-3644 in the Twin Cities area.

There is a new system in place that gives the best times to call. It is as follows

  • Any questions about a person’s account will be answered Monday through Thursday between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

  • Any questions about the application process itself will be answered Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

  • Any questions about a person’s password will be answered Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.