Residents can expect to see their latest unemployment benefits this week.
The Guam Department of Labor released payments for error-free unemployment claims through Aug. 23, totaling $13.9 million in assistance, according to Director David Dell’Isola.
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In-person assistance for unemployment applications remains available at the Dededo and Yona libraries. Assistance is by appointment only, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. The first two hours are reserved veterans, manamko’ and persons with disabilities.
Lost Wages Assistance
It may still be some time before qualifying residents see the $300 Lost Wages Assistance supplement to their unemployment benefits.
The program’s technical systems are nearing completion, Dell’Isola said. Because Guam doesn’t have a standing unemployment insurance program, a separate system needed to be built to pay out the Lost Wages Assistance, with funding from FEMA.
“Hopefully, it’ll be done and tested by the end of this week,” he said.
After that, the labor agency will begin double-checking the intended payments for fraud.
“Guam is liable for the fraud and the over-payments,” he said.
Dell’Isola also awaits President Donald Trump’s final approval for the program.
Trump established the Lost Wages Assistance program, a temporary addition to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The program replaces the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which expired at the end of July and provided an additional $600 to residents’ unemployment benefits.
The program originally would have provided Guam residents who received at least $100 a week in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance from July 26 through Aug. 15 with an additional $400 for three weeks. This was a cost-share program, in which states and territories provided 25% of the amount.
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Most states waived their end of the cost-share, reducing the weekly supplement to $300.
Trump must sign off on Guam’s requested waiver. Dell’Isola last week said that Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero officially requested the waiver from the president, and “it’s been sitting on his desk for a while.”