SAIPAN — Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Secretary of Finance David Atalig said errors have delayed the approval of some Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications.

During a press briefing Friday on KKMP radio, he said an error as simple as an incorrect routing number or account number, or incorrectly noting a bank account as a checking account instead of a savings account or vice versa, will trigger an error with the claim.

Two consecutive errors with the direct deposit method of payment for claims will result in the payment method converting to paper check, due to certain Automated Clearing House, or ACH, banking policies, Atalig said.

"The reason is we (have to comply with) ... banking laws and banking regulations. ... Our access to ... an ACH is suspended until we clear these banking errors, so to minimize those challenges, we just convert them to paper checks since we're already able to print paper checks, according to the U.S. Department of Labor standards."

Benefit checks

Taxpayers who have yet to receive their aid checks are encouraged to contact the Department of Finance Division of Revenue and Taxation, and the Division of Treasury, Atalig said.

For community members who suspect that their stimulus checks were mailed to the wrong mailboxes and may have already been cashed, Atalig said such cases require filling out a form that will then prompt an investigation by the Division of Revenue and Taxation and the Division of Treasury.

He said a report will also need to be made to the Department of Public Safety.

"Once we get a police report, then the process starts in (reissuing) the check," Atalig said. "If it's deemed fraudulent, then we can work with the taxpayer."

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