Guam's unemployment payouts reach $324M

WAITING FOR ASSISTANCE: People form a long line to enter the Guam Department of Labor Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Center at Guam Community College in Mangilao on July 29. Post file photo

Guam Labor Director David Dell'Isola on Tuesday morning said an additional $11.9 million in unemployment benefits will be paid out, covering cleared claims filed through Aug. 10.

This latest batch of federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program payments is expected to hit the banks by next week, he said.

Of the nearly $11.9 million in latest payouts, $10.9 million-plus is for unemployment benefits, and $929,695 is for taxes, Dell'Isola said.

The previous batch of payouts, amounting to $26.1 million, covered cleared claims filed through July 29.

With the additional $11.9 million, the total PUA payouts for Guam's displaced workers will be at $362 million-plus by next week.

This amount includes withholding taxes that most of the PUA claimants chose to be automatically paid from their unemployment benefits.

Some 30,000 of Guam's workers directly displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic through layoffs, furloughs and work hour cuts have already received federal unemployment benefits since June.

These include up to $345 a week in PUA, and an additional $600 a week for unemployment through July 25 under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

While FPUC ended July 25, those who receive at least $100 in PUA will be eligible to receive an additional $400 a week under the new Lost Wages Assistance program for three weeks, or from July 26 to Aug. 15.

The federal government is paying $300 of the $400 weekly benefit per worker while $100 is covered by GovGuam. Guam can apply for up to three more weeks of LWA, depending on funding availability.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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