SAIPAN — The administration has applied for the grants provided by the Lost Wages Assistance program to help workers affected by COVID-19, Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente said on Tuesday.

Speaking before the Rotary Club of Saipan, Benavente said if the CNMI application is approved, qualified commonwealth workers will get $300 each.

Benavente said the administration is also asking for a waiver of the 25% matching fund requirement.

She is expecting to get a response from the federal government in the next two weeks. 

The Lost Wages Assistance grants are coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the intended beneficiaries are workers who have been unemployed or are working fewer hours due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The same workers who availed themselves of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will also benefit from the LWA, Benavente said.

She added that the administration is also working on direct financial assistance for non-U.S. citizen workers who are not eligible for the PUA and LWA programs.

"It's not a whole lot of money," she said. "It will be a one-time direct assistance for non-U.S. citizens impacted by COVID-19."

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