FEMA grants Guam $22.6 million for Trump $400 unemployment payments

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The Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the full amount of Guam’s request of $22.6
million for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program.

This funding will enable GDOL to provide an additional $400 a week for three weeks to approximately 25,000 unemployed individuals, on top of what they receive from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

“Our COVID-19 response is more than flattening the curve and stabilizing our hospitalization rate, but also providing aid to our families who have lost work and wages. GDOL has been at the forefront of ensuring our displaced workers receive this financial assistance. I want to thank GDOL Director David Dell’Isola and his team and the Office of Civil Defense Administrator Charles Esteves for ensuring our application made a strong case for Guam. The signed acceptance of the approval will be sent to FEMA today,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero.

The extra benefits, authorized by President Donald Trump’s Executive Order, comes after the expiration of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program that provided an additional $600 to PUA recipients but ended July 25.

The FEMA funds will cover the federal share of $300 for three weeks of LWA from July 26 to Aug. 15.

The Government of Guam will provide the additional $100 a week, estimated to total about $7.5 million.

Currently, 44 other states have been approved for the program. Each approved state and territory is liable for fraudulent and overpayments.

GDOL has already drawn down $509 million of federal funds for PUA and FPUC. With this new grant, GDOL brings $531.6 million of federal funds to help the island’s displaced workers get through this crisis.

With the most recent unemployment batch of $26.1 million for clean claims up to July 29, 2020, GDOL has paid out $321.5 million in PUA and FPUC, with $28.6 million going to taxes, for a total payout of $350 million.

“Every little bit helps our people who are out of work. I’m glad to be able to help provide the people of Guam this extra funding, but also hope Congress is able to offer a longer-term solution,” said GDOL Director David Dell’Isola. “This short-term program is a lot of work with some risk involved, but we want to do what we can to help our people. Even during PCOR1 my department and I are doing all we can to extend these financial lifelines to help our people get through the pandemic.”

GDOL is currently working with their software vendor on the logistics of how this new payment can be automated into the system for unemployment applicants. There should be no additional application requirements for qualified claimants. GDOL will release information as the program progresses and as the money is loaded.

To be eligible for the additional assistance, individuals must receive at least $100 a week from PUA.

The length of the program is dependent on FEMA’s availability of funds and will be determined by FEMA on a weekly basis.

For more information on the unemployment assistance programs, call 311, 735-0527 or 735-0532 on weekdays.

For login issues, email webadmin@dol.guam.gov. For claim or weekly certification issues, email pua.hotline@dol.guam.gov.

(GDOL News Release)

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