The phones are ringing non-stop at the Guam Department of Labor’s unemployment call-in center set up at the Guam Community College.
And appointments are already filling up for the in-person application help as well.
Starting Monday morning, 12 operators started taking incoming calls to fill out applications on behalf of claimants.
That’s in addition to 12 others who are staffing the hotlines for people applying from home and just needing some support.
And starting Monday next week, GDOL will start allowing 48 people at a time, in one-hour slots, to come to GCC to apply in person.
David Dell’Isola, Guam DOL Director, said: “As you can see, they’re set up…computers are set up. And people will come in and sit down. We’ll have one to two people supervising, where instead of doing one-on-one, we’re getting people to start the online process with us providing assistance.”
The important thing to remember is that this is by appointment only and people will be turned away if they just show up without an appointment.
In fact, Dell’Isola said they’ve already had to send people home this morning.
GDOL has partnered with the Guam Public Library System to have a roving, mobile application center as well. At their peak, GDOL says they should be able to accommodate 10 people in those slots starting next Monday as well.
“We’re really trying to keep those without any internet, without any kind of computers, who may be facing challenges with transportation, the hardest to serve, that’s who we’re really trying to get to come out for those sites,” Dell’Isola said.
The GCC call-in application and in-person support are open from 9 am to 3 pm
You can call in to start making an appointment for in-person help next week.
To schedule an in-person appointment to apply for the PUA and FPUC programs call:
The first two hours will be reserved for manamko, veterans, and disabled people.
Guam Police and the National Guard will be dealing with logistics on-site at GCC with the turnover in people every hour or so.
Here’s what you can expect if you come in person:
- You must wear a mask.
- You’ll have your temperature checked at the door.
- Then you’ll be escorted to your specific room for your computer session.
There are four rooms total, with computers set up at socially distanced spacing.
In order to take advantage of unemployment benefits, Guam DOL says you must have an email address.
As of right now, Dell’Isola says over half of the applications they’ve received have unresolved issues.
“Today, about 13,500 initial claims and we’re seeing the biggest numbers of issues is the definition of unemployment. So, the term unemployment means also reduced in hours. So if you’re not back to your normal work schedule, then you would still be considered unemployed and you would check that box, and not check employed,” Dell’Isola said.
Here’s another problem popping up for GDOL — people who make less than the unemployment threshold but they’re not actually affected by COVID-19.
“So if you were only working part-time and you go back to your original part-time hours, then you’re no longer qualified. The $494 threshold, doesn’t come into play.”
Dell’Isola says around 10 adjudicators are working to process all the incoming applications to give them the all-clear.
“If they open it up and they see you have your furlough letter, you have your check stub, you have your identification, they’re going to say ‘boom good-to-go’ and it’s going to be moved over for processing for payment. But if there are lacking things and there’s not stuff there, because of the fraud control that we’ve put into place, you could have it stalled because they have to call you to verify the information and make sure that it’s true and correct,” Dell’Isola said.
As for people who’ve already applied, Dell’Isola says you don’t have to do anything further. They’re finalizing the checks and payment process now for clean claims.
Dell’Isola says that so far they have an 11:1 ratio for people taking up the electronic funds deposit over receiving a mailed check.
To apply for PUA and FPUC by phone beginning June 8, call (671) 735-0518 through 0526.
For more information, call 311 or (671) 735-0527 through 0532. Follow GDOL on social media for updates on Facebook (@guamdol) and Instagram (@dolguam).