Jobless claims down to $7.7M

ASSISTANCE: In this July 29, 2020, file photo, pandemic-displaced workers line up to enter the Guam Department of Labor Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Center at Guam Community College in Mangilao. Post file photo

While Pandemic Unemployment Assistance coverage ended on Sept. 4, claims still can be filed and paid, including a record low $7.7 million payment by next week, according to the Guam Department of Labor.

Labor Director David Dell'Isola on Tuesday said the $7.7 million batched claims, including $659,000 in taxes, are as follows:

• $3.8 million in PUA;

• $3.9 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

All Lost Wages Assistance funds have been paid out.

PUA batching and payments last year regularly exceeded $20 million every two week, with 28,000 to 30,000 pandemic-affected workers claiming unemployment aid. Those figures have since dropped, as the number of PUA claimants now is down to 8,000 or fewer for the two-week period.

Dell'Isola said the record low claims are expected because the PUA program is winding down, and also because more people may have been getting back to work. The job search requirement also is a factor.

PUA is the single largest federal pandemic relief program for Guam, with more than $1 billion budget authorization from the U.S. Department of Labor. PUA kept thousands of families from hunger, homelessness and poverty amid the pandemic.

More than $800 million so far has been processed and paid out to pandemic-impacted workers.

While PUA eligibility ended Sept. 4, the hireguam.com system continues for applicants to finish up their claims. Those who qualify, but have not filed a claim, have until Oct. 4 to apply. For more information or questions about PUA:

• Call 311, 735-0527 or 735-0532 on weekdays.

• For login issues, email webadmin@dol.guam.gov.

• For claim or weekly certification issues, email pua.hotline@dol.guam.gov.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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