Latest batch of jobless benefits  drops to $15M as claims decrease

JOB HUNT: Abigail Uncangco, center, and her husband, Cris, left, inquired about a federal agency's jobs during a job fair at the Agana Shopping Center in June. Between 350 and 400 Guamanians participated in the job fair. Post file photo

Claims for federally funded unemployment benefits have continued to drop, with the latest batch of payments now at $14.8 million, compared to $25 million to $30 million earlier in the year.

Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell'Isola on Tuesday said the $14.8 million that was batched this week, inclusive of $1.3 million in taxes, is broken down as follows:

  • $7.4 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
  • $7.4 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
  • $12,600 in Lost Wages Assistance.

Prior to this batch, the Guam Department of Labor was paying $17 million or more every two weeks. Before that, the payments were at $25 million to $30 million.

The number of PUA claimants is estimated at 13,000, less than half of the peak 28,000 who claimed they were laid off, were furloughed or had work hours cut as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PUA claimants should expect to receive their latest direct deposit by next week.

The federal government authorized more than $1 billion for Guam's pandemic unemployment benefits. As of this week, GDOL has processed some $757 million in unemployment aid including the latest batch of $14.8 million.

This month marks the 13th month since pandemic-impacted workers started receiving PUA checks that covered unemployment dating back to March 2020.

There are only 47 days left before PUA stops covering unemployment. To help claimants get used to looking for a job a month before the end of PUA, they will be required to start making three job searches a week starting in August.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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