Reestablished All RISE program shows inconsistencies, questionable delays

WAITING: Dozens of people wait outside of the Dededo Mayor's Office on July 7. More than 700 residents requested residency verification that day alone, according to Mayor Melissa Savares, in anticipation of the All RISE program. Post file photo

Guamanians applying for the All RISE program won't need a mayor's verification.

Acting Gov. Josh Tenorio directed the Department of Revenue and Taxation to accept applications without mayors’ verifications but otherwise satisfy all other requirements and to verify the residency of applicants with mayors after applications are submitted, according to a press release.

When the application process opens, DRT will ask applicants to indicate their village of residence and work with mayors to verify residency in the order of application submission, the release states.

The program was passed into law last year by the previous Legislature but hasn't yet been executed. It aims to help income-qualified individuals by providing a one-time payment of $800.

A qualifying individual is primarily someone with an adjusted gross income that doesn't exceed $40,000; the threshold for joint tax filers is $80,000 a year.

At the announcement several weeks ago that applicants would need to submit a mayor's verification, village mayors' offices have been inundated with requests.

According to a statement from Tenorio, mayors' offices "continue to experience difficulty satisfying the heightened demand."

He said to "help alleviate these challenges and in consideration of the fact that there is neither a definition for the term 'Guam Mayor’s verification' nor a prescribed process for issuing that document contained in the applicable rules, this particular requirement shall be satisfied through an administrative review process undertaken by DRT and the various mayors’ offices after applications are accepted."

“I am confident that this process will alleviate the increased demand for residency verifications at mayors’ offices,” Tenorio added. “We will continue to find ways to direct aid in the most effective and impactful ways so that our island can rebuild better than before.”

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