The Guam Department of Labor is advising all Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants who may qualify for the Lost Wages Act, a $300 weekly benefit for a limited time, to submit their documents by Friday, Nov. 20, to be included in the Nov. 24 batch.
GDOL continues to audit the potentially qualified LWA claims, but the batch scheduled for next week may be smaller than anticipated due to a lack of documentation.
Throughout this week, some applicants may receive a call from PUA staff to fix their claims or supply additional documents and check stubs to qualify for the supplement.
The LWA provides qualifying claimants an extra $300 a week of federal assistance for six weeks, on top of what they receive from PUA, according to the local Labor Department.
To qualify for LWA, claimants must receive at least $100 in pandemic unemployment assistance. Dates covered for the extra $300 are weeks ending Aug. 1 to Sept. 5.
Guam went back into lockdown Aug. 17, in the middle of the qualifying period.
While there is no separate application for LWA, the federal government requires claims to have sufficient documentation including separation notices, furlough letters and check stubs to qualify for LWA payment, the department stated.
To submit documents, claimants must upload them into their accounts.
No walk-ins are available for this purpose at the moment, the department stated.
“Do not wait to be called or audited. If you know you were back to work during July, August or September and then re-furloughed, you must submit additional documentation to show when you went back to work, what date, and what date you were released as a direct result of COVID-19 in order to ensure that you will be qualified,” said GDOL Director David Dell’Isola.
Those who have been flagged or who know their claims need to be updated should do so as soon as possible, GDOL stated.
The schedule for the next batch has not been set.
“The PUA staff can’t tell just by the weekly claims what changes may have occurred in an individual’s application and employment history. If there isn’t sufficient information then payments cannot be made,” Dell’Isola said. “We have to be extra cautious with the LWA program, based on federal audit guidelines.”
Unlike PUA, the government of Guam is liable for all unqualified or overpaid claims. The department stated it must be judicious with these payments in order to keep Guam’s liability to a minimum.
The 311 PUA call center and appointment lines will continue to be closed this week as the staff works on clearing claims for LWA.